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Comic-Con Movies 2011: EW Visionaries: Guillermo Del Toro & Jon Favreau

Comic-Con presents its yearly tradition, the Entertainment Weekly Visionaries panel. This year’s panel included Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy). Both directors hit it off quickly, establishing with the Comic-Con audience that they not only knew each other but had plenty in common professionally. In particular, both men will soon adapt Disney-related properties into film. Favreau was a bit more forthcoming about his latest mash-up project while Del Toro kept rather mum about some of his upcoming projects.

Since 2008, the festival of sorts has hosted the biggest names behind the lens and simply asked for their perspectives on the future of filmmaking. Previous panelists included Kevin Smith, Judd Apatow, Zack Snyder and Frank Miller in 2008, Peter Jackson and James Cameron in 2009, and JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon last year. Moderator Jeff “Doc” Jensen was on tap to question Favreau and Del Toro about their current projects and the transforming effect of technology on the entertainment industry from movie conception to finished product and marketing.

del toroThe panel kicked off with the two men offering stories of how they knew each other and loved each others work. Favreau mentioned seeing Del Toro’s house and being surprised about the landscape and menagerie of original artwork and memorabilia. Despite being a self described “creepy motherfucker,” Del Toro appreciated Favreau’s risk using stop-motion animation in Elf

Various technologies were brought up as the men discussed their upcoming Disney products Magic Kingdom for Favreau and The Haunted Mansion for Del Toro. The former is in its earliest stages — basically a concept. The director will begin the script after his other projects wrap. The Haunted Mansion is on its third draft of a script, however that is all Del Toro would say besides assuring the movie will be scary and not comedic, exactly as he did when he announced the project at last year's Con.

The discussion of the projects culminated in some discussion of how technology has changed. Now their films have the option of 2-D or 3-D mediums (Favreau has not decided on the medium for Magic Kingdom). Also, the directors lamented that CGI has replaced much of the creativity needed to create tension and fright in film now that clever angles and puppets are not used as much on screen. Favreau commended Del Toro on his use of the old and new styles. 

fareauDel Toro drew the first question during the Q & A portion. An audience member wanted to know about At the Mountains of Madness, the project based on the H.P. Lovecraft novel that Universal dropped because its budget did not justify the hard "R" rating that Del Toro wanted and the filmmaker did not want to compromise artistically. The director assured his fans that he hopes to still make the film in future. In the meantime he is having an amazing time designing monsters on the set of his current project Pacific Rim, which will be discussed further at Friday's Legendary Pictures panel.

Del Toro is known for his fantasy-like aesthetic and ability to create other-worldly creatures. Favreau takes what could be run-of-the-mill action and turns it into something memorable and trendy. Both men have projects out within the next month. Favreau will debut his latest mashup Cowboys & Aliens next Friday. Del Toro is the writer and producer of the highly anticipated horror event Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark opening Aug. 26.



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