He is currently in the process of completing production on the sci-fi action epic Pacific Rim, which tore the roof off Comic Con this past July.
Speaking to Hitfix at the convention, del Toro says, "When we started the movie, I made it clear that I wanted to bring an aesthetic and a narrative point of view that is different from what is normally used."
He continued, "Usually, a lot of these movies look like recruitment videos -- polished steel surfaces, blues, slow motion, very military, and I said, 'Look, I don't want to make a war movie. I want to make an adventure movie. Saturated with colours, saturated with drama, big operatic moments."
These big ambitions come at a big cost, the director went on to say, "I have never worked as hard in any movie I have ever done and I've never worked as joyously as I did in this movie. This is the first time in my life where I enjoyed the process of shooting from beginning to end I was putting in 18-hour days, 19-hour days," he said. "If I could I would have done 24-hour days."
Based on the reactions, it looks like that hard work is going to pay off. Wider audiences will get their first look at Pacific Rim this Christmas, when a trailer is expected to screen before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
That's not all that's on del Toro's plate, however, he has served as producer and a key creative on Dreamworks upcoming Rise of The Guardians and is in the process of developing a 3D stop-motion version of Pinocchio, which he will co-direct with Mark Gustafson.
Speaking to Collider recently, del Toro said that Rise of the Guardians is the first DreamWorks Animation film that del Toro was able to develop from the stage one, whereas he joined last years Puss in Boots halfway through the production. As a result, he is far more satisfied with the final product:
"[Director] Peter Ramsay has created a world that is incredibly gorgeous and colourful and is one that mixes better with the stuff I like," he goes on to say the film will focus on his key themes, "The idea that believing is seeing, rather than seeing is believing."
Imagination has always been something that del Toro has had a surfeit of, so if Rise of the Guardians meets his approval this could be something even more special than the recent trailers indicated.
Speaking of fantastic imagination, we all caught an early look at del Toro's Pinocchio movie with some stunning, evocative concept art earlier this year, del Toro says of the art:
"[The images] were designed when Gris Grimly was fully in charge of the project, so I have to do a redesign of some of that. But Pinocchio is Pinocchio, that is going to remain the same. I think we start the redesign room in about three or four weeks," he goes on to say that construction of the puppets is already underway.
But there's more, del Toro intends to have Bad Seeds front man Nick Cave pen some songs for the feature and hopes to have the film cast and in a recording booth by January/February of next year.
As far as casting goes, nothing is concrete but the director had a few delightful suggestions that he has been kicking around: "Geppetto would be Tom Waits, you know that’s my dream cast" and "Ron Perlman will play Mangiafuoco, who in the Disney version was called Stromboli. Ron is perfect for that."
Let's hope the man gets his wish upon a star.