In the new science-fiction movie Pacific Rim, humans make giant robots called "Jaegers" to combat giant monsters called kaiju (the Japanese word for monster), which are sent from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean by beings from another dimension.
All Things Considered Host Audie Cornish spoke with the Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro about the film, his frequent use of orphaned characters, challenging the usual action-movie aesthetic and the Japanese monster films of his childhood that inspired it. As a kid, he attended many opening week shows, often by himself and often in some pretty disreputable theaters.
"I went to see these movies," del Toro said. "And the way they transported me, the way they made me feel in awe of these gigantic creatures strolling across the ocean, coming into the city, it's unlike any Western movie genre ever."
Back then, the movies were all made with miniature props and sets that didn't exactly instill the fear of a real-life threat. But for his monster movie, del Toro wanted to go with a very high-tech, super realistic approach to evoke the same awe in people today that he used to feel as a kid.
While del Toro's publicist and I were chatting before he arrived she checked out the photos on my desk of other guests posing with an I Heart NPR card.
"Of course we'd love it if Mr. del Toro would participate, but only if he wants to," I said.
She responded: "Oh, he will. He's a huge fan."
And sure enough, when he arrived he told me, "I love NPR! I even donated my car!" So after back-to-back interviews here, and before rushing off to his next interview, he paused for a moment to prove it.