You know a Guillermo del Toro panel is going to be different from most other experiences at Comic-Con, and the panel for FilmDistrict, which represents both the GDT-written/produced Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, was no exception.
Spearheaded by del Toro himself after realising he “wanted to meet that crazy motherf****r Refn,” the panel was not the usual conveyor belt of talent and clips, though it certainly wasn’t quite as revolutionary as the participants might have hoped.
Still, it was an entertaining event, spiced as usual with del Toro’s typically raunchy humour and enthusiasm. And while it felt like Don’t be Afraid of the Dark got short shrift, there was a chance for some fascinating stories from Refn and a wealth of banter.
Plus there was a clip on display from Drive that showed Ryan Gosling’s Driver getting more than a little violent with an assailant in a lift. One word: ouch.
But there was still some talk of Dark, with GDT reinforcing how he’s committed to developing and aiding new filmmaking voices, believing that it’s what genre movies truly need. He also talked of the battles that he and Dark director Troy Nixey faced trying to ensure that the faerie beasties for the movie were as small as they wanted. “These little f*****s never quit!”
Yes, del Toro was in full, filthy flow as ever and even had Dark star Guy Pearce noting that the Comic-Con name cards sitting in front of them all include a warning that younger people might be in the audience. “I apologise,” said del Toro, before rallying: “They should have known what the f**k they were getting into. Go to a high school. Grow up!”
Refn, meanwhile, explained the necessity for finding the right people for your film: “Casting is the most crucial thing and it’s the biggest headache to find who is right and who do they want and who do you want. But once you realise the casting is in place, it’s like sex, it doesn’t get any better! Even when it’s bad it’s still good. Directing is really easy. It’s inspiring other people to give their best then putting your name on it. You help and support and often leave your actors alone.”
Talking of casting, Refn even relayed the story of his first meeting with Gosling, a hilarious tale of cold medicine, REO Speedwagon and an emotional outburst by the director that secured him the actor’s services… “I was completely out of it after taking American drugs and couldn’t really talk to him properly when I met him at his restaurant. I eventually asked him to drive me home because I couldn’t face getting a cab. We got into the car to drive to Santa Monica, turned on the radio and it was REO Speedwagon playing ‘Can’t Fight this Feeling’! I started singing along to it – badly – and also crying. Then I just screamed, “I got it! I know what Drive is! It’s a man who drives around at night listening to pop music and that’s his emotional release!” Ryan replied, “We’re doing it!”
But despite that horrific first date, the working relationship between the two has blossomed, and they’re planning to make Only God Forgives next, followed by the new version of Logan’s Run. “I may call on Guillermo to give me a few tricks on that one,” said Refn.
“I can play Logan!” countered the spirited GDT. Nice try, mate…
Oh, and they also played the new trailer for Drive, albeit the one safe for general audiences. Take a look at the new red band promo below, courtesy of IGN. Warning: It's not dafe for work or little ones. Much like del Toro!