Today, Guillermo del Toro presents his latest film Mama, opening in theaters nationwide. He may not have his directorial hands on this one but does as an Executive Producer. He worked with the filmmaker Andres’ Muschietti, to create a stylized, feature lenth horror film that is based on Muschietti’s short. Del Toro talked to Collider about the process.
Mama was something Andy wanted to do, exactly the way he did it in the short. Andy came in with Mama fully formed… When you work with a great director, you can have a great partnership and, in this case, we were on the level, the whole time. What I love about Mama, as a project, and it was there in the short, from the beginning, was the great construction of a character and not just a ghost.
Mama centers on two young sisters who are discovered living alone in the woods, five years after their parents died. Their uncle and his girlfriend take them in and soon find out the girls did not come alone.
Del Toro got involved with the project because “it was one of the scariest little scenes I’ve ever seen.” Watch the original short film on which Mama is based, with introduction by del Toro.
Del Toro is no stranger to the horror genre. He started making films in Mexico before working with bigger budgets and studios in Hollywood. His first American feature film was Mimic, which he recently went back to edit. He rereleased a Director’s Cut, now on Blu-ray. Since then, he’s written, directed and produced over thirty films, with at least ten more currently in development. He’s best known for the Hellboy movies, Pan’s Labryinth and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.
Both Mama and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark present themes of motherhood and del Toro tells Crave about the differences.
The big difference for me was that, from the moment we started [Mama], and Jessica [Chastain] was so happy about this, was that she never becomes a mother. She becomes a fellow female. There’s solidarity. But, she never becomes a possessive or mother figure. Literally, it’s the story of a woman struggling with motherhood, literally. Like hand-to-hand combat with motherhood. It’s the idea that there are other alternatives to the love of a mother, in the way we see the world. Her making peace with the fact that she can love someone, and love in a protective way, but not in a suffocating way. It’s really, really interesting that they have similarities, but I think it came from the fact that ultimately I produce only directors and movies that I have a lot in common with.
Watch the trailer for both Mama and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark below.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is now available on Blu-ray and Mama opens in theaters nationwide, today.