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Guillermo del Toro delved deep into his past Thursday to explain the profound hold that “Scary Stories in the Dark” has on him.
“I basically was roaming through a bookstore, in San Antonio, Texas,” he said at a Hollywood event to launch the movie’s teaser trailer. “I was in my early teens, and I came upon this volume that had an irresistible title: ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.’ The cover illustration was so creepy, and I started browsing it, and the illustrations got me first, but Alvin Schwartz’s retelling of the tales was incredibly efficient and lean and mean.”
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Del Toro, who’s now 54, is a producer on “Scary Stories in the Dark.” He recalled that “Scary Stories” came back into his life in the aftermath of the 1997 kidnapping of his father in Mexico. James Cameron paid the $1 million ransom and the event left del Toro in tough financial shape. But he discovered an art gallery selling original art from the series and bought some.
“I was really, really broke but I was extravagant and bought the key illustrations from the book that I love, which led to a lot of financial trouble after that and marital trouble after that,” Del Toro said. “You cannot justify a buy like that. But I needed to have the key images that affected my youth.”
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Del Toro joined the project in April, 2018, a month after winning Oscars for best picture and best director for “The Shape of Water.” He compared that the writers’ room process of crafting the project to “American Idol.”
“We distilled it to the five or six that we liked the most,” he said. “But we basically distilled it to the ones that everybody seems to remember the most. The books obviously have many many more stories, so this could...
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