NECA takes new direction in creation of Guillermo del Toro action figure
The creation of action figures for movies and television series is big business in the toy and collectibles industry, but generally the assortments that emerge from any given line generally consist of the characters, creatures and vehicles associated with film or TV shows and nothing more.
But thanks to the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA), the action figure business is taking an exciting new direction.
Appealing to the fans who appreciate the talent both in front of and behind the camera, the New Jersey-based specialty collector company has found a niche by making action figures of directors behind famous films. To date, NECA has released seven-inch action figures of directors Quentin Tarantino (in a “The Hateful Eight” costume) and James Cameron (in “Aliens” attire); and now, for a limited-edition figure that will be sold the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this week, Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro.
In a recent email interview, NECA’s director of product development, Randy Falk, revealed that the idea to immortalize “The Shape of Water” filmmaker came about when the company and del Toro worked together on creating figures and sets for two of his classic films.
“We have a great history working with Guillermo del Toro, and when he attends SDCC he always comes by the booth to check out our latest and greatest,” Falk said. “The idea to actually create a figure of del Toro himself grew out of our experience collaborating on ‘The Devil’s Backbone’ and ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ over the past two years. We’ve had success in the past creating director figures of Quentin Tarantino and, last year, Col. Cameron (James Cameron), so immortalizing Guillermo was a no-brainer. He loves toys and collectibles and is an icon to our fanbase since he is such a visionary director.”
In addition to selling the 8-inch Guillermo del Toro Signature Collection figure and other exclusives at SDCC, NECA will be revealing upcoming licenses. So, given that “The Shape of Water” won the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards earlier this year, could an Amphibian Man figure be in the works?
“Possibly — (that is) certainly something that is very high on our wish list considering how beautiful that film was and the critical acclaim that followed,” Falk said. “Perhaps we will have more news on this come SDCC.”
In a wonderful bit of symmetry, another exclusive NECA action figure of a director will be available at SDCC this week. The interesting bit is, it’s a 7-inch figure of Shane Black, the director of the upcoming sci-fi thriller “The Predator,” but of Black as his character, Hawkins, from the 1987 classic “Predator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I was fortunate enough to visit the set of the latest ‘Predator’ film back in the spring of 2017 and I sort of bounced the idea off of Shane and his people at that time,” Falk recalled. “We had just finished up our ‘Predator’ 30th anniversary collection and felt like it would be great to incorporate Shane into it … to be able to do his character as Hawkins would be a perfect lead-in to him taking over the franchise as a director and was just perfect synergy. Luckily, he liked the idea and wanted to do it. The timing really was perfect. With the film having a big panel and presence at SDCC and releasing in September, to have the exclusive Shane Black as Hawkins release this July couldn’t be more perfect. The toy gods were smiling down upon us for this entire project.”
While fans are getting the unique opportunity to get action figures of del Toro and Black at this year’s SDCC, Falk said NECA isn’t “actively pursuing” any other filmmakers to make into action figures at the moment. He’s completely open to the idea of creating more, however.
“We agree it is a really nice addition to get the actual creators involved and into the line where it makes sense. Everything so far has grown out of special circumstances or situations that lent themselves to the creation, and there has been a narrative or compelling reason behind it,” Falk said. “The ‘Aliens’ 30th anniversary for example, Shane being director of ‘Predator,’ the launch of the Guillermo del Toro Signature Collection we have worked so closely with him to create. All those factors helped make those possible and make them special. So, along those lines, I would love to do something with, say, Wes Craven or George Romero if we could find a way to make it special and have it make sense.”
In the meantime, Falk said, fans can look forward to plenty of surprises as the company reveals new lines at its booth at SDCC throughout the weekend.
“We definitely have some incredible surprises in store! I think there is truly something for everyone in this year’s reveals and a few jaw-droppers that no one will have seen coming,” Falk enthused. “We have some reveals involving horror, classic TV, classic ’80s films, lots of nostalgia and lots of fun. I can’t wait to be in San Diego again to debut all the great new items our team has worked so hard to create.”