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Can you talk about the cast? Were these people the first choices?

DEL TORO: It’s pretty public that Benedict [Cumberbatch] was there. He came out. Then when I sent the screenplay to Jessica, I didn’t send it with any part in mind, but everyone was assuming she was going to read Edith. And then she read the part and said she wanted to play Lucille, which is the antagonist. I thought, smart girl! It’s a surprise. And then Emma [Stone] was in, Emma was out. Then Mia was the first choice after Emma. It’s been a blessing man. It’s like going out to take a spin on a Porsche.

Tom came within 72 hours of Benedict leaving. Benedict called me, Tom was my next choice, and we handed him the screenplay. I think he read it overnight, at least it felt like that for me. I had just sent it and he called back to say all the right things about the script. I needed people that could embrace the very perverse nature and the very humane. It’s a very dark but at the same time very human movie. It’s really beautiful but it’s full of really disturbing stuff.  Charlie was on from the beginning, from Pacific Rim, I told him.

How is it for you when people drop out of a film? Is it jarring to reassess that character with another person in that role?

DEL TORO: Yes, of course. You need to recalibrate. But if you recalibrate and you say this is my first choice next, then it’s great. The transition was so smooth. If we had gone six months without somebody … but it was literally within hours of somebody falling out, somebody else had read it that we wanted. It was really, really great. But then you have to rewrite for the actors. And what we did is we have a very … once I gave them the biographies, we had a table work session where we read the screenplay, talked about the biography, listen to him read the part, come back, rewrite, send it back, get their voice in, and you rewrite it for them. We all went to London to see Tom in his play and then work in London with him and Jessica, to rehearse and work on what we had learned from the biographies.

How early did the cast get here before production began to do any rehearsals?

DEL TORO: Again, Charlie was the first one. He went in, and then Mia came, and then Jim, and the last two were Jessica and Tom because Jessica was shooting in New York and Tom was finishing the play in London.  Mia and Charlie are playing American characters. The only American is playing an Englishman.

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Tom Hiddleston has this fan base that’s very active, a little younger, female. How are they going to react to his character?

DEL TORO: I think they will like him no matter what he does. (Laughs) My daughters could see him grinding poppies, they’d be like, ‘Ohhh, he’s so sweet! He grinds them so carefully.’  My daughters are first in line. He goes by them, they go, ‘Awww.’ There is the thing they said more than any other. (Laughs)

Did they say to you, ‘He would be good?’ Or was it you saying to them at the dinner table.

DEL TORO: No, no, no. My daughters are a vital part of the way I function with the world. Without them, I wouldn’t have discovered Adventure Time, for example, which is vital for me. When I said Mia, they went, ‘Yes! Absolutely!’ Or when I said, Tom, they went, [snaps] ‘In!’  They’re completely connected to the world in a way that they keep my playlist younger. It’s not just Barry Manilow anymore. I gotta get a little hipper. (Laughs) It is now Phil Collins, and the music the young ones like. They keep me connected to the world.

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Over 35 Things to Know About CRIMSON PEAK From Our On-Set Interview with Guillermo del Toro [The Highlight Version]

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Though Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Stone were initially cast, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska were del Toro’s next choices for those roles, respectively.

Tom Hiddleston signed on within 72 hours of Cumberbatch dropping out of the film.

del Toro did some slight rewrites on the script after Hiddleston and Wasikowska were cast.

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Quint sits down with Guillermo del Toro on the set of CRIMSON PEAK to talk about ghosts and a ton of movie geek shit!

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The full set visit and more 1:1 interviews are still to come (I expect many a jealous fangirl email once I describe the circumstances of my Tom Hiddleston interview… I’ll just say he has the nicest-smelling trailer I’ve ever been in), but I have permission to share this chat well in advance of the embargo lift on the whole enchilada.

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Guillermo del Toro Interview: What You Need to Know About Crimson Peak

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Del Toro most recently wrapped filming on his next film, Crimson Peak.  The pic has been described as a classical gothic romance ghost story and stars Tom HiddlestonJessica ChastainCharlie Hunnam, and Mia Wasikowska.  Del Toro has normally kept to more colorful stories for his English-language pics and tackled heavier subject matter in Spanish, so Crimson Peak marks a significant “first” for the filmmaker:

“It’s the first time I tackle, on film, an adult subject in a way that is not based on a property or comic book/animation type of arena.  Mimic was such a shocking experience that I made a decision back then in 1997 to do the sort of more auteristic, harder-to-pin movies in Spanish and do the big pop spectacles in English.  It was finding a home at Legendary and being supported by Universal—Donna Langley was a big champion of Crimson Peak—that gave me the courage to try to bring those sort of adult tools to an English-language studio film.  It is, by comparison with Hellboy or Pacific RimCrimson is a smaller movie, but it’s very, very personal.  So it’s something I haven’t tried before and I’m very proud of it and happy.”

While he’s set to head into pre-production on Pacific Rim 2 next month, del Toro says Crimson Peak is already in fine shape despite the fact that it doesn’t open until October 2015:

“I just finished my director’s cut, which is very, very quick six weeks after wrapping because I basically cut while I shoot.  I’m very close to the final cut.  I’m doing a temp mix at Skywalker Sound to show the movie from beginning to end to the studio, Universal and Legendary.  They’ve both seen the movie in pieces, in long, long fragments, but they haven’t seen it beginning to end.  We have temp effects for basically almost everything, because again I process VFX while I shoot.  I’m extremely, extremely happy with the movie.”

The filmmaker told Steve that there’s only one deleted scene from the entire film, delving a bit into his multi-tasking directorial process:

“I think that the total deleted scenes is one.  Well two, in a way; the tail end of one scene and a whole scene.  The rest is shaving because the reason I cut every day during the shoot is because that way I calibrate that the movie doesn’t get too long or too short.  I think that you need to land under or around the low, low end of two hours in a movie.  It’s so difficult for me to sit through movies that are two hours and fifty minutes, or things like that, and I really am very conscious of that.  I was calibrating while we shot, so if I need to go faster I target scenes that can go faster.  And if I need to go slower, I calibrate scenes that allow me to go slower.”

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