On a post-con emotional downswing (it happens to everyone). Seems like the perfect time to tell my little story about meeting Guillermo del Toro.
I have a number of heroes, of varying degrees; but the most special to me are people who I respect both as creative individuals and as passionate, positive people. I’ve had the great honor to meet quite a few of them; but somehow never actually met him. Nearly met him a number of times; even had to step out of his way at the Chicago Film Festival 2 years ago but was so surprised to discover him right at my shoulder I didn’t recover to say anything. Del Toro was actually at my first Comic-con. I wandered into his panel because some years earlier I’d seen Mimic (shut up, it has moments) and thought “if this guy gets a good script and some leash, he’ll really accomplish something”. I was instantly charmed. He’s smart, upbeat, and hilarious (and swears like an unapologetic sailor). He’s such a joy to listen to that I haven’t missed an opportunity to hear him talk since (including hours of extras/commentary). [As if that wasn’t enough, the man hires people off the floor of Comic-con and filming each movie picks someone to come tour the set, have lunch with him and talk. How does he exist in Hollywood? It’s like a Care Bear living in Mordor.]
I’m finally, I think, genuinely recovered from being seriously ill… and all through those difficult years when my body was poisoning itself and my creative life was failing, whenever I’d hear him talk about his movies and his passions it was like having the batteries recharged and the lights flicker back on. There are rare people in the world who are not only creative themselves, but have the ability to move the rusty machine gears in others. That’s like a superpower. So I’ve been on a mission to at least meet him, if I can’t tell him properly what that continues to mean to me.
Really the whole thing is credited to my con roomie, who heard me talking about wanting to finally meet del Toro. He gave me a card for a signing at the Legendary booth I didn’t even know was happening (the right to stand in line). I came REALLY close to missing it but was saved by friends and some inordinate amount of luck. I’ve gotten really chill about signings for the most part; in spite of crippling shyness as a child, thanks to lots of cons I can now shoot the breeze with celebs without passing out or anything (like a BOSS). Was chatting in line with strangers, laidback, til I rounded the corner and there was one dude in front of me and there was del Toro. I nearly lost my s***. When it was my turn it was a momentary rocky start (my fault) and honestly it’s all a little hazy but I managed to give him a little plush I made him; a leaf sprite like this one but unique for him. He used the word “awesome” and immediately began playing with its arms and bending the stem, so we’ll take that as a positive result. #toysareforplayingwith He took a photo with me and I have to say, the guy does not do “plastic photo pose” shots. Actual arm-around-your-shoulder-hug like you’re old friends. He also accidentally bent the corner of the poster he was signing while talking to me and had me wait while he signed another. He didn’t want me to leave with a bent poster. On top of shaking my hand like four times and thanking me several times. ノ° ロ°;)ノ
I can’t say briefly how much meeting him reinforces my resolve to try - not to do what he does because I’m not him, but to do whatever I do as WELL and as genuinely as he does.
BASICALLY Guillermo del Toro is THE friendliest, coolest BAMF out there and I want everyone to know it. If he founds a religion I am joining that cult because it will be frickin’ awesome and full of strong women, amazing visuals and cool monsters. And all this positive energy form a man whose grandmother used to make him walk to school with tacks in his shoes. Also if there is some ancient evil I can summon to have a chance to work with him or just bring his coffee, I will get right on that.
Incidentally, the del Toro thing caused me to choke up like a reality show loser while being interviewed by a Norwegian TV crew (whole other story). THANKS DEL TORO that is DEFINITELY going in the FINAL CUT 9~9 #thingsyoudrathernothaveonNorwegianTV