Mike Fleming

Guillermo del Toro has teamed with director Mathew Cullen, cinematographer Guillermo Navarro and executive producer Javier Jimenez to launch Mirada, a 25,000 square foot studio in Marina Del Rey. Del Toro, a prolific producer of projects beyond his own directing vehicles, said that he expects to use the venue as a home base and a way for him to embrace a transmedia future. Del Toro will run a lot of his projects through a facility that has the ability to handle everything from pre-visualization to animatics, story boarding and visual effects work. The studio opens for business today.

Cullen and Jimenez are the co-founders the commercial design and production company Motion Theory, and Navarro is a veteran cinematographer who has worked with del Toro on Pan’s Labyrinth, the Hellboy films and The Devil’s Backbone. The facility is a former bottling plant that has been used for visual effects shooting on such films as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blade Runner.

Discussions on establishing a home base began while del Toro was in New Zealand and planning to direct The Hobbit films. It wasn’t lost on del Toro that Jackson had amassed facilities that allowed him to do just about anything under his own WETA roof, and when he left the project, del Toro stepped up the studio’s launch.

“We didn’t have the Wellington model in mind when we were talking, but one of the great things about it was how close every facility was to each other,” del Toro said. “Our intention here is to be nimble and guided by strong, traditionally rooted storytelling principles. We will have all these pieces under one roof,  and built a strong creative community here that will nurture future storytellers. Some of the feature projects I have going in the near future will hopefully go through Mirada, which means ‘point of view.’ One of the ideas for me was to create a company that could become a home for me to be able to work.”

His hope is that one of the first big projects there will be At the Mountains of Madness, the 3D tentpole-sized adaptation of the HP Lovecraft thriller that has del Toro directing and James Cameron aboard as producer. Universal brass is expected to make a final decision on the project before executives go away for the holidays. If del Toro is feeling the pressure, he’s handling it well. He said he has lost 40 pounds through better diet and exercise, and will, by his own estimation, “soon be known as the Mexican Brad Pitt.”