In Variety‘s Up Next, we asked four Oscar winners to pick the one person who represents the future of Hollywood.
Our cover subject Guillermo del Toro is one of the most prolific directors working today, but he’s acutely aware that it carries an important responsibility to other upcoming filmmakers. He executes that duty by producing movies that have him working with other artists, including animator Jorge R. Gutiérrez (“Maya and the Three”) on his debut feature film, “The Book of Life.” He’s felt that obligation before and after winning his Oscar for best director for “The Shape of Water” (2017), which also won best picture.
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Looking ahead, he’s excited by Tatiana Huezo, who will be representing Mexico for the international feature Oscar for her film “Prayers for the Stolen,” her debut narrative feature. “She has high-level cinematics and solutions for moments that blew me away,” he says about her movie.
How does it feel to be considered one of the masters of directing today?
GUILLERMO DEL TORO: It carries with it a responsibility to the upcoming directors, and I tried to fulfill that role, certainly through producing. At the same time, you feel part of a community that you’ve admired since you were a teenager, looking up to other directors. It’s fascinating to all of a sudden, being able to show your cut to Michael Mann and getting notes from him on “Nightmare Alley.”
How did your approach to directing and constructing “Nightmare Alley” differ from “The Shape of Water”?
I was necessitating a change of tools, and approaching something that needed to be stylized and recognizable in the real world. You have to be rooted in reality and character. The rhythms change the way you’re going to be shooting almost like an acting duel every day between Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett.
What are you working on?
I’m writing right now. Monsters are coming back.
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What does it feel like to have someone like Guillermo del Toro choose you as the future of cinema?
TATIANA HUEZO: It fills me with deep joy, pride and gratitude that Guillermo del Toro considers my work to be valuable. I remember seeing “Pan’s Labyrinth” many years ago in Barcelona, and it touched me deeply. It helped me to understand the country I was living in at that time. He pushes me to continue working with the same rigor and profound love on the stories I believe in. Despite all the films in his oeuvre, Guillermo is an approachable and endearing person.
How do you see yourself contributing to the future of movies?
The cinema of the future and present, in my path, will always be born from the provocation and fascination of looking at and feeling life. I see cinema as a journey of exploration that seeks human experiences. It can immerse us in other realities and bring us closer, regardless of genre.
What’s next for you?
I’m shooting a documentary called “El Eco” and am immersed once again in the territory of childhood in a rural setting. It’s a story that speaks of the echo that parents leave in their children. I’m also developing narrative ideas for my next fiction, which will likely involve a lot of wind and the sea. I’m excited to start the research that will feed this new story.
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