Hobbit director feeds comic book habit

COMIC BOOK FAN: Guillermo del Toro has two homes in Los Angeles, one of which is just for his book and comic collections.
COMIC BOOK FAN: Guillermo del Toro has two homes in Los Angeles, one of which is just for his book and comic collections.

If there is one thing the director of The Hobbit cannot be without while based in Wellington, it is plenty of graphic novels and books.

Mexican Guillermo del Toro has been in Unity Books in Willis St buying large numbers of graphic novels and books as he settles in for pre-production on the two-part adaptation of The Hobbit at Peter Jackson's Miramar studios.

Shooting takes place next year.

Del Toro was also a guest at Wellington Zoo on Sunday for the introduction of Weta Workshop's new children's television series The WotWots - the first time he has appeared before the media since arriving in Wellington.

Del Toro, whose two recent Hellboy movies were based on a comic book series, is renowned for being a voracious reader.

In Los Angeles he owns two homes - one for him and his family, and another to store his book and comic collections.

While The Hobbit will be del Toro's main project for the next three years, he has several other films under development, including Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Slaughterhouse Five, Drood and At the Mountains of Madness.

His 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth won three Oscars for best art direction, makeup and cinematography.

Meanwhile, Time magazine has seen a short excerpt from Titantic director James Cameron's next film, Avatar, which was shot in Wellington and due for release in December.

The US$200 million (NZ$358m) sci-fi epic is largely set on a planet called Pandora and uses a mixture of digital 3D and tiny cameras rigged to actors' heads.

"I couldn't tell what was real and what was animated - even knowing that the 9ft-tall blue, dappled dude couldn't possibly be real," Time's Josh Quittner wrote.

"The scenes were so startling and absorbing that, the following morning, I had the peculiar sensation of wanting to return there, as if Pandora were real."

The Dominion Post