5 takeaways from Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak Comic-Con preview

It doesn’t feel quite like Comic-Con unless filmmaker Guillermo del Toro takes to the Hall H stage at some point during the four-day tribute to all things pop culture and fan-ish. Having showcased both Hellboy andPacific Rim in the past to rapturous enthusiasm, the San Diego event is somewhat old hat for the Mexican auteur. But with each successive appearance, del Toro has been consistently hilarious, honest and — to the delight of the crowd – blasphemous, spinning pure gold with every comment. He (probably correctly) believes the warning on-stage talent receive about keeping their comments family-friendly is a result of his earlier Q&As. The glee he takes in ignoring the rule is just one of the many reasons the filmmaker always seems to have the Hall H audience in the palm of his hand.

This year del Toro was on hand to bring the assembled masses a short but atmospheric teaser for his 2015 gothic horror romance, Crimson Peak. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain andCharlie Hunnam, the homage to haunted houses was filmed in early 2014 in and around Toronto and southern Ontario. Despite the fact production wrapped just two months ago, there was still plenty to see and talk about during Saturday’s preview.

Intended as a way to merge the adult-tones of Pan’s Labyrinth with the colourful, larger-than-life worlds of his latest English-language films, Crimson Peak truly looks like it could be del Toro at the top of his game. Find out more about the film as we run down the top 5 things we learned during the Legendary Pictures’ Peak sneak peek.

  1. From producer to director: It may surprise some but del Toro was initially attached only to produce the feature. But once he found out Legendary was willing to let him go full-out with the scares, violence and adult-nature of the story, he stepped behind the camera.
  2. Del Toro loves Tom Hiddleston as much as the rest of us: Upon hearing the excited cheers for lead Hiddleston, del Toro took a brief break from talking about the film to earnestly talk up its male star: “Tom Hiddleston is the nicest f***ing person on Earth.” He went on to say that in his experience people are either good-looking and an a**hole or bad-looking and lovely, but miraculously Tom is both. Unsurprisingly the audience agreed. The director promised he would bring Hiddleston along to the inevitable Peak panel next July.
  3. Go big AND go home: In this case, home is a 3-storey Victorian Mansion completely built within Toronto’s Pinewood Studios. It took over a year for del Toro to design and — when finished — had working elevators and plumbing. If the footage shown is anything to go by, the structure is not only a work of art but also an intriguing lead character.
  4. More than meets the guy: del Toro decided to film this particular story because it fulfilled his quest to find a strong female lead role that was about more than just falling in love and “getting the guy.” Though those aspects are included, as one would expect with a gothic romance, it’s what happens after she gets the guy here that’s the meat of the plot. So in addition to the romance, there’s thrills and chills, along with “beautiful moments and really brutal moments.”
  5. Things that go bump in the night: As with all del Toro projects, there’s more to everything in Crimson Peak than you might think. While the film is a definite homage to the haunted house movies of the past — the director has cited Robert Wise‘s The Haunting as a particular favourite – del Toro has promised “things that are scarier than ghosts.” Your guess is as good as ours as to what exactly that means.

Our report on the panel wouldn’t be complete without at least a brief rundown of the footage screened for the 7,000-strong audience in Hall H.

Playing much like an extended teaser, the fabulous preview began with a slow showcase of various portions of the mansion as Hiddleston’s character darkly monologises about it, warning that “sometimes houses as old as this begin to live and breathe.” What followed were flashes of various tense scenes in the film, all teasing terror, romance and mystery with a wonderfully gothic and Victorian look and feel. The end title treatment revealed itself, quite naturally, via a screen full of crimson blood before fading to black.

Based on that footage alone, we’d advise you to mark October 16, 2015 in your calendar so you can be among the first to witness what is sure to be a remarkable film.

(Originally posted on Cineplex.com)

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