Mexican Director Guillermo del Toro Criticizes Trump: We Should Build Bridges, Not Walls

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Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Los Angeles, CA

During a recent interview with Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr., director Guillermo del Toro opened up about his successful career as one of Mexico’s most sought after Hollywood exports, in addition to his thoughts on Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Del Toro, along with fellow Mexican directors Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, have all found varying degrees of success in the United States. Del Toro’s Crimson Peak dropped Friday, and Inarritu, who won an Oscar in 2015 for Birdman, will debut The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, in December.

Mike Fleming asked del Toro during a wide-ranging interview, published Friday, if Donald Trump was simply misunderstanding the issue of illegal immigration, and if those who cross into the United States illegally are being unfairly “vilified” by Trump and others.

“As an immigrant from Mexico who has gotten a piece of the American dream, I can only imagine what you feel when you see Republican Presidential aspirant Donald Trump vilify the illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico,” said Fleming.

Fleming then asked, “What is he not understanding about people who come to the U.S. by hook or crook to better their lives, as has been done for the past two hundred years and change?

Del Toro responded:

I think you just said it already, Mike. To be completely honest, you have to stop and think and ask, is this a man with a genuine public service vocation or is he a public figure? There is a big difference for me. I do have to wonder if this is a guy with a public service vocation that requires a certain fiber and a certain makeup of a human being that wants to wake up at 4 AM to discuss fair trade with the Colombian delegation or the ambassador of Kuwait. Someone who needs to know the name of every secretary of state in every country in the world. It requires a dedication along with a political talent that I just have to weigh before considering whether the remarks are anything but offensive and lacking thought.

If an incumbent president or a vice president talks like that, or somebody with a trajectory in public service talks like that, I get greatly concerned. If somebody that is a public figure talks like that, I consider it a sadly misinformed opinion rather than anything else. I’m reminded of the old Robert Redford movie, The Candidate, where it ends with Redford winning and saying, ‘Now what?’ It’s almost like the political race is always tempered with these incredibly colorful characters who seem more enamored of the thought of the presidency than the nuts and bolts of it.

“So Trump might be the latter, a person willing to vilify or polarize one group or another in an attempt to create a lightning rod issue, rather than having actually thought it through?” asked Fleming.

Del Toro responded saying divisions among people are only an “illusion.”

“I am not singing Kumbaya, but I am saying we are controlled by people that make us feel that there is such a thing as ‘the others.’ It can be gender. It can be color. It can be sex. It can be nationality,” said the director. “You know, we are all on top of the same ball floating through space and there’s nothing on that ball but ‘us.’ And religious leaders, political leaders, industry leaders create this horrible straw man to make us direct our hate in a way that allows us to be guided like a bull with a ring on the nose. I find that an incredibly poor political act and an incredibly poor human act, to do that.”

The director added, “For us to buy it, for us to believe that myth of the superman or the super-enemy, it makes us much poorer. There are no supermen and there are no super-evil enemies.”

Del Toro concluded: “There is only us. I think that we get more passionate about building walls than we do about building bridges. I find that one communicates and the other isolates. I truly think that the solutions of the future are much more complex than the rhetoric.”