I’ve never made it a secret that I’m a fan of Guillermo del Toro, the person, almost as much as I appreciate the outstanding work of Guillermo del Toro the filmmaker. He’s a guy who, among other distinctions, is the only auteur I know of to get his start largely as a special effects creator. It’s impressive even if, as del Toro explains in one the clips below, it was a matter of necessity for a burgeoning horror-fantasy director, as there weren’t any efx houses to speak of in his native Mexico. He’s also the most openly sensitive, soulful public geek I know of. What can you say about a man who’d address the denizens of the Tolkien fan community and expand on his initial farewell to directing “The Hobbit” on a fan message board like this:

I have to thank those of you that have supported me from the start as well as those that converted along the way. And even say farewell to those that never did convert or believed.

I will miss Mr. Crere, the faith of Compa and Sir DennisC, the wisdom of Voronwe, the joy of Grammaboodawg, the support of Kangi Ska and so many, many other.

He says this, addressing himself to a fan, Pasi, who I gather was upset by del Toro’s departure from “The Hobbit.” This is not the usual approach of a major Hollywood filmmaker and, there is no doubt, del Toro is not your typical major Hollywood filmmaker. He says that leaving “The Hobbit” was “the toughest situation of my life.” That’s a rather extraordinary statement considering that del Toro’s personal biography has an almost Dickensian flavor, including having to negotiate the release of his kidnapped father with brutal gangsters, some of whom may still threaten his safety and are the reason he no longer works in Mexico.

In other words, this is a man who loves movies with absolute devotion and it’s hard not to mourn the movie he might have been allowed to make if we lived in a slightly more logical universe. Another director may well do an extraordinary job but it cannot really be the same and it’s hard to imagine it’ll be any richer than the movie del Toro might have made. That includes every other director out there, including Peter Jackson.

If you watch the video interviews below and after the flip, I think you’ll see what I mean.

H/t Anne Thompson. You may also want to check out the terrific interviews he did a few years back with Teri Gross when he was promoting “Pan’s Labyrinth.”