Q: We are stuck in a movie phase where our heroes are accidental heroes, or heroes by destiny and not through any quality they possess.
del Toro: [Pacific Rim] is old fashioned.
Q: This is definitely old fashioned. Can you talk about that, the kind of heroism you wanted to have in this movie?
del Toro: I really wanted it to be a very complicated movie that played very simple. I wanted to make an adventure movie where the sentiments of the characters are there, but they’re not the main obstacle to overcome. I told Charlie Hunnam when he came on, ‘I know actors like complex characters, but Raleigh has very few moving parts.’ He’s really a guy who wants to do good, he’s just afraid to trust someone else and have them die on him because he’ll feel it, like he did when his brother went. You better put spoilers here! But I said, that’s him. When he finds somebody he trusts he’s ready to be good. He’s not Hamlet, wondering if he can do it. I said to Rinko, ‘The two characters need to trust each other.’ You literally see Rinko lose her heart when she’s a child - she has a red object - and then the blue memory stains her hair. She’s carrying it with her. Then when they come together they become one inside the robot.
It’s a simple, earnest heroism. It’s not jingoistic, it’s not ideological, it’s purely humanistic. It’s about the world saving the world. I really needed characters who have good cores. Even the asshole in the movie, the guy you’re meant to hate, he’s a good guy.