Return of the Puppetmaster: Q&A with Guillermo del Toro

Barely a year and a half after his Pan's Labyrinth earned three Oscars, Guillermo del Toro's career has picked up serious heat: After months of suspense, the Mexican director was tapped to helm the two Hobbit movies—prequels to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The choice could not have been more right: Del Toro is an expert hand at creating gorgeous fantasy worlds and populating them with creatures that have the power to horrify, make you cry or laugh. An example is in theaters starting today: Hellboy II: The Golden Army, in which Big Red takes on an evil elf, seemingly indestructible robots and comes face to face with death. All this, between taking huge swills of beer, vegging out on the couch and making jokes, of course—all habits Hellboy shares with Del Toro himself.

As the movie looks to make a big summer splash, Del Toro talked to us about why Hellboy is his favorite superhero, what he's looking forward to doing in The Hobbit and just how he got such a wicked imagination in the first place.

Read our review of Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy is like the antidote to Bruce Wayne. He has a sense of humor.

Well I think Hellboy is more brawn than brain in the sense of him not being very sophisticated. But he is emotionally very intelligent. He really doesn't take himself seriously. Ultimately he is a very, very simple guy in many ways. He is a guy that is easily relatable. You can identify with him. He likes beer, candy and TV.

I would be very bored by shooting a serious superhero. I am not interested in that. I am interested in a very flawed, very human, very warm, relatable guy. Those are the things that are attractive to me. I think that it's not so interesting for me to shoot a superhero that is so sure of himself.

Do you relate to Hellboy personally?

Very, very much. And I know that. I celebrate human flaws. I love that Hellboy is incredibly immediate and relatable because of his flaws. Because he does things that we would all do. He gets angry really easily. He loves the girl he loves, he is really loyal, he has a lot of human qualities. He’s my favorite superhero.