Guillermo del Toro on ‘Pacific Rim,’ ‘Monster,’ ‘Justice League Dark’

May 12, 2013 | 12:13 p.m.
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Guillermo del Toro attends Comic-Con International in San Diego in 2012. (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles Times)

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Guillermo del Toro and actor Sergi Lopez on the set of "Pan's Labyrinth." (Teresa Isasi / Picturehouse)

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Maribel Verdu and Ivana Baquero in a scene from "Pan's Labyrinth." (Teresa Isasi / Picturehouse)

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Guillermo del Toro on the set of "The Devil's Backbone." (Miguel Bracho / Sony Pictures Classics)

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Eduardo Noriega as Jacinto and Irene Visedo as Conchita in a scene from "The Devil's Backbone." (Miguel Bracho / Sony Pictures Classics)

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Inigo Garces as Jaime in a scene from "The Devil's Backbone." (Miguel Bracho / Sony Pictures Classics)

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Marisa Paredes as Carmen, left, and Eduardo Noriega as Jacinto in a scene from "The Devil's Backbone." (Miguel Bracho / Sony Pictures Classics)

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Irene Visedo as Conchita in a scene from "The Devil's Backbone." (Miguel Bracho / Sony Pictures Classics)

Any public appearance by Guillermo del Toro is a buffet of goodies for fans of monsters, robots and things that go bump in the night.

The director’s visit Saturday night to the Hero Complex Film Festival was no exception, with Del Toro sharing a new trailer for his upcoming sci-fi monster movie “Pacific Rim” and dropping details on future projects “Justice League Dark” and “Monster” in between screenings of two of his most personal films, “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

Del Toro said “Pacific Rim,” which opens July 12 and pits massive robots against invading monsters in a near-future world, was inspired by his childhood love of Japanese pop culture. He talked about reading manga series like “Astro Boy,” watching films by Toho, the Japanese production company behind Godzilla, and fancifully sketching giant robots — an obsession he has passed along to his wife and daughters.

“They see a robot and it’s like a beefcake,” Del Toro said, of his daughters, 12 and 16. “If the 16-year-old shows up with a 25-foot robot, I’m OK.”

Del Toro also updated the audience on the progress of “Justice League Dark,” his planned adaptation of the DC Comics series featuring offbeat, supernatural characters. The director said he hoped to include in the script such characters as Constantine, Deadman, Etrigan, Swamp Thing and Floronic Man.

“I was never a superhero guy,” Del Toro said. “I thought I could do some of the edgier, darker stuff.”

The director said he has submitted a pilot script for his adaptation of Naoki Urasawa’s “Monster” manga series to HBO, and was waiting to hear from the cable network if it would go forward.

“You cannot compress ‘Monster’ into a feature,” Del Toro said, of the project he is co-writing with “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” writer Steven Thompson.

Speaking with his characteristic exuberance and profanity, Del Toro discussed topics ranging from the Gareth Edwards’ forthcoming “Godzilla” movie (“I wanna see it destroying cities”) to Kierkegaard.

The screenings of the two Spanish-language movies — “The Devil’s Backbone,” Del Toro’s 2001 gothic horror movie set during the Spanish Civil War, and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” his Academy Award-winning dark fantasy set during Francoist Spain — served as more serious-minded bookends for the talk.

“My American movies exasperate those that like my Spanish movies,” Del Toro said, acknowledging the dichotomy of his career. “And my Spanish movies exasperate those that like my American movies.”

Hosted by Hero Complex editor Gina McIntyre at the Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, the event capped Day 2 of the Hero Complex Film Festival, now in its fourth year.

The festival started Friday night with a John Carpenter double feature and discussion and continued Saturday with a screening of “The Mist” featuring Frank Darabont and Thomas Jane. Sunday afternoon features a screening of “Independence Day” and conversation with director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin; that’s followed in the evening by a 20th anniversary tribute to “The X-Files” with creator Chris Carter and showings of three fan-picked episodes.

Check back in the coming days for video of discussions with the festival’s special guests.

–Rebecca Keegan @thatrebecca

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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