Guillermo del Toro is well known for his horror and fantasy films. Crimson Peak, his newest movie, is scheduled to be released on Oct. 16, 2015. Del Toro directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Matthew Robbins. According to the Los Angeles Times, his newest monster is a “labyrinth-like Gothic mansion.” When discussing the characters in Crimson Peak, the director mentions the eerie house first. As with all of the monsters he has created, he is proud of the gothic-style mansion.
According to IMDb, the movie is about a young woman who suffers a personal tragedy and finds herself having to choose between two men. One is her childhood sweetheart and the other is an enigmatic outsider. She finds herself at Allerdale Hall, an overwhelmingly large, but run-down, mansion. When she asks the character Sir Thomas how many rooms there are, he says, “I have no idea.”
The director told the Los Angeles Times that the dwelling is built upon a “red-clay mine” in England. However, the set was built in Canada where the movie was filmed. The mansion, Allerdale Hall, has a unique architecture, and the set is not typically constructed. It is an actual three-story mansion with real fireplaces and a functioning elevator. A green screen was used only for the hole in the ceiling. Overall, the house represents the aristocratic family’s despair; it is run-down, and the ceiling remains in disrepair. In the movie, snow and leaves fall through the hole. Del Toro further explains that Crimson Peak tells a story of lost wealth, Gothic times, and the “clash between love and death.”
Video Interview Highlights
- Del Toro was asked to describe the genre of the movie. His response was, “Gothic Romance.” However, he adds, it is a mixture of styles that include enhanced drama, dark fairy tale, and horror, which he says is “more creepy than scary.”
- When asked to talk about the mansion, del Toro explains his desire was for it to be an actual character that reflects the people who live there. He stressed the way the house reacts to a character’s anger and how it speaks, bleeds, and breathes. Allerdale Hall has windows that make it appear as though the house is looking at the viewer. The architecture, overall decoration, and the actors’ wardrobes are all interlinked by color, texture, and design.
- The interviewer inquired about the phrase, “Love is both transcendent and frightening,” and asked the director to talk about the power of love within the movie. When del Toro answers, he says that the film is about love. Furthermore, he adds, the young girl initially did not believe in love but begins to think it should be more romantic. The film demonstrates the imperfections and darkness of the love she is given, which is monstrous, manipulative, possessive, and destructive.
When asked about the cast, del Toro talks about the actors’ portrayals of the characters, which include Edith Cushing, Lucille Sharpe, Thomas Sharpe, and Dr. Alan McMichael.
- Mia Wasikowska portrays Cushing. She represents a fragile, yet strong, young woman. The director says that when showing the character’s strength, the actress in incredible.
- Jessica Chastain stars as Lucille Sharpe. Chastain’s character is “one of the most formidable” in the movie. The actress lends her ability to portray an emotional and menacing enemy. Del Toro adds that the audience will feel sorry for this character even though she is responsible for incredibly horrible acts against the other characters.
- Tom Huddleston plays Sir Thomas Sharpe, a dark character who is full of humanity.
- Charlie Hunnam stars as the shy Dr. McMichael. Del Toro explains this character is quite different from the superhero the actor played in the past. The director believes the actor and the character are similar in temperament.
In the video below, del Toro shares more insights about Crimson Peak, its set design, and the characters. Del Toro hopes the audience will watch the movie more than once because there are so many hidden gems for viewers to discover each time they see Crimson Peak.
By Cathy Milne
IMDb: Guillermo del Toro Biography
IMDb: Crimson Peak – Cast and Crew
Los Angeles Times: For Guillermo del Toro, home is where the horror is in ‘Crimson Peak.’
Featured Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License