2017 • Best Picture & Directing • Backstage

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90th Oscars Backstage Interview Transcript: Actor in a Leading Role

SPEECH BY: Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson

Q. [Speaks in Spanish.]
A. [Speaks in Spanish.]

Q. At the Golden Globes I asked you about how you balance the light and darkness and you said, “I met somebody.”
A. (Guillermo del Toro) Yes.

Q. And you created a meme that’s gone all around the world and affected millions of people. So the question is how do we keep that ‑‑ how do we help you keep that going? How do we stop the scapegoating of Mexico and really reaffirm your unique and magnificent culture?

A. (Guillermo del Toro) I think every time we can demonstrate in any forum, be it sports, science, art, culture, anywhere, what we have to bring to the world discourse, to the world conversation, is extremely important, and it’s extremely important when we do it to remember where we’re from, because it’s honoring your roots, honoring your country. Now I’m going ‑‑ my next stop is I’m going to see my mom and my dad this week. I’m going back home with these two ‑‑ with these two babies.

Q. Love it.
A. (Guillermo del Toro) Thank you.

Q. Congratulations. You spoke fondly about Fox Searchlight on stage, and I wonder if you know anything about the studio’s future? Have you talked to anybody at Disney about it? Have they reached out to you? What can you say about that?

A. (Guillermo del Toro) As they say here, it’s above my pay rate. Way above my pay rate. But what I know is I’m continuing conversations with them about future projects, you know, and you form bonds with a studio, but you form bonds with individuals, with people that support you. And whatever that I ask for, it goes or stays, you continue creating.

Q. How is this a victory for Hollywood North and the production going on in Canada? So much of this was done in Toronto.

A. (Guillermo del Toro) I will let Miles answer that, too. What I will say when we started this, Miles and I, we talked very, very seriously about creating this movie with heads of departments from Canada. We wanted to ‑‑ you know, I’ve been there working for more than half a decade continuously, and I wanted to ‑‑ we wanted to show the talent and showcase the talent of the HODs in Canada and make it something where you don’t go and use a rebate and escape. You know, you go to use the talent, you go to have the artistry, you go to have the complicit creation with everybody there.

A. (J. Miles Dale) Yeah. As Guillermo said, we’re very proud of the Canadian talent. And, you know, 30 years ago when the business just started up there, the people up there began to learn from the best in the world, and now they are some of the best in the world. So we are committed to using those people all across the board on the film and we think it’s a great moment for Canadian filmmaking. Obviously, you know, many more Oscar nominations than any other film for Canadians. So, we feel like it’s a real watershed moment and we’re very proud.

Q. In Toronto when we talked before the movie was released, you said that you didn’t dare to dream about the Oscar, but if you had the chance you wouldn’t dare to write a speech and prepare that. So my question is: Did you do it? Did you write it? Did you think about doing it? And what did you have left to say?

A. (Guillermo del Toro) The only time I wrote a speech was on the beginning, and I pulled out the paper and I couldn’t read it and, you know, I was sweating into my eyes, and I started just speaking from the heart. So, what I wanted to do ‑‑ what I did here is the same. I thought, you know, I’m going to get there, and if I have a little piece of paper and I count down, it’s horrible because you see the numbers. So just talk about what you’re feeling at that moment.

Q. Do you have anything left to say that you have?
A. (Guillermo del Toro) Oh, yes. I have a lot. I have a lot of cousins, man.
Q. You can thank all of them.
A. (Guillermo del Toro) Yeah, I did.

Q. Guillermo, congratulations on your victory.
A. (Guillermo del Toro) Thank you.

Q. I work for the Baltimore Sun, and while we’re very happy and proud to have been the setting for your movie, I’m wondering why it is ‑‑ why did you choose Baltimore?

A. (Guillermo del Toro) You know, I fell in love ‑‑ when I was a kid I fell in love with one of the primal trilogies in cinema for me, Barry Levinson’s Baltimore trilogy, you know, and I loved the setting. And I know we screwed up with the accent. I’m very, very, very aware with that, but what I wanted was to capture that flavor. You know, it’s such an interesting mixture, the Catholic, the industrial, how near is to the ocean, all those things, and for me it was mythical. Levinson invented so many things in those films, and particularly important for THE SHAPE OF WATER was the TIN MEN and the Cadillacs in TIN MEN and how they represent America, and that isn’t there. You know, I think that those three films, AVALON, DINER and TIN MEN are fabulous landmarks of American cinema. And then the John Waters, man.

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