Guillermo Del Toro is the front runner for Best Director at this year's Academy Awards. The Mexican filmmaker's latest fantastic vision, The Shape of Water, was one of the most-acclaimed films of 2017 and it'll likely land the director his first Oscar come March 4. However, Del Toro is no stranger to critical acclaim. His most famous movie, Pan's Labyrinth, is one of the highest-rated films of all time on Metacritic.
Pan's Labyrinth is celebrated for many reasons — Del Toro's unique creature designs, the creativity of the mythos — but one of the biggest reasons the film is so beloved is the performance of 11-year-old Ivana Baquero. With Del Toro on the cusp of Oscar fame, we thought it was a good time to catch up with the actress who first helped him make his mark.
Baquero, who portrays Pan's heroine Ofelia, displays a grace and maturity well beyond her years in the film. Rated R, Pan's is a fantasy, but it's a dark one. There's no dancing Goblin King or muppets here. Instead, the film is packed with Del Toro's haunting creatures... and then there's Ofelia.
As wonderful as Baquero is in Pan's Labyrinth, she's basically disappeared from the film industry since the movie's debut in 2006. Chosen from a pool of over 1,000 young actresses, Baquero seemed destined for stardom after winning accolades for her performance in Del Toro's film. But, things didn't exactly work out that way.
She continued acting, but her most noteworthy roles were in a Kevin Costner movie no one saw called The New Daughter. More recently, she was cast in MTV and Spike's The Shannara Chronicles, which was recently canceled. For Pan's Labyrinth fans, however, she'll always be Ofelia. Speaking with ET last year, Baquero reflected on the experience:
“I feel like being in Pan's Labyrinth was like going to acting school. As such a young actor to have all that knowledge and be able to work in such an amazing production with other great professionals and crew members was a good learning experience... I think, in a way, it just made me mature and take it as a job rather than as a hobby."
Looking forward, Baquero sees herself continuing to act in the U.S. as well as in her home country of Spain.
"I've always wanted to come to the United States because there's so many opportunities, there's so many things going on. But my dream has always been to able to work both in the states and in Spain. Ultimately, if I could both industries, that would just be my dream."