At the risk of infantilizing one of the more interesting directors of our current generation, there’s something undeniably cute about Guillermo Del Toro. That perception of adorability was only heightened earlier this week, when the The Shape Of Water director confirmed an anecdote from the set of his giant monster movie Pacific Rim, in which he allowed one of his young cast members to address him with the same name as a cuddly anime forest spirit.
Apparently, Mana Ashida—who played the younger version of Rinko Kikuchi’s character, Mako, in the 2013 kaiju film—had trouble pronouncing Del Toro’s name, so he gave her special dispensation to call him “Totoro-san,” presumably as a reference to the beloved Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro. The story has been circulating for a while now online, but Del Toro took the time to confirm it a few days ago.
Meanwhile, in case that wasn’t enough cuteness to ward off whatever evils bedevil you today, Twitter was quick to serve up a GIF of the two dancing together, plus some fan art of Del Toro as the beloved Miyazaki character.