The Source Magazine: Talk about your inspiration behind Crimson Peak.
Guillermo del Toro: All my life, I’ve read these novels, I’ve read E.T.A Hoffman, Ann Radcliffe, I mean the gothic impregnates literature all the way through our days. It resonates in Dickens with the Great Expectations. It resonates with Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey. It resonates and is reconverted by Henry James in Turn of the Screw. For a while, it was the most popular style of literature in Victorian England, to the point there is an engraving of two ladies in a parlor reading The Monk and another looking so that no one enters because it was full, for Victorian era, full of sex and violence. They were rebelling against academia and the establishment and all that. So I fell in love with this spirit. I happened to be a filmmaker that is not postmodern. I’m not ironic, I’m completely high on my own supply. Everything I do I do with a passion and earnestly. So I love that spirit and that’s the spirit of romanticism. I thought, curiously, in the era that the Victorians were enjoying during the peak of Gothic Romance they were afraid to talk about sex, so sex became the sort of hidden subtext of Gothic Romance. Now, I think we’re afraid to talk about love. It becomes a corny emotion in an era that’s so cold and cool and distant and aloof. I thought that it would be great to tackle a Gothic Romance about love. About what is love really, and to switch it into a more female centric gender political arena. Normal these girls are all rescued by Fabio, and they go into the cliff and they catch the next ship into romantic island. I wanted, non spoilers, for the girls to take charge of themselves and to basically acquire the confidence. The love story for Edith, the really important part is that she learns to survive about herself. There’s a crucial moment in the movie, normally in this genre and horror, sex makes women victims or dooms, and I wanted sex to be used in a different way for both characters and to not use it as a gauge of purity, which I find a mainly male centric obsession. All these things, the violence is pushed a little. I loved when Mia says the lines that usually guys say, wait here, I’ll come back for you, I promise. That’s the line that the guys say to girls in the movie and I really love these things. The influence was, in fact, proto feminists, like the Bronte Sisters or Mary Shelley, I had such a crush on Mary Shelley and all the Bronte Sisters because I thought what a remarkable beings these are. They were magical when I was growing up and I thought the complexity, psychologically, of Jane Eyre, I love it. She fells in love madly with this man but he cannot take her. Mary Shelley, to me, writing that novel when she was a teenager, I mean it’s just mind blowing. The morals of the day was that women didn’t get published as easily as man, was involved still in 1901 when the movie takes place. I called her Edith for Edith Wharton, because she both embodies the spirit of that particular period, which is modernity, and she’s also in my opinion as good a writer as Henry James with whom she had a great literary relationship but also she writes these oblique ghost stories. I don’t want to use ghosts in the normal way where they are evil or demonic. I want to use them the way Henry James described them in Gothic Romance. Gothic Romance, the ghost represents our past, that immobilizes us from moving into the future. I’ve been obsessed with these things since I was eleven. There’s a whole shelf in my house that’s dedicated to Gothic Romance and an entire room, called the Dickens room, is where I sleep, and it’s all Victoriana. Spectacles, thievery, con men, criminal low lives, the criminal code of Victorian England. Until I do Pacific Rim, no one can know I love Kaiju and mecha. Until I do Crimson Peak no one can know I love [Gothic Romance].