John Wayne’s Iconic Gunslingers Inspired a Robot in This Modern Blockbuster: Here’s How


Imagine John Wayne influencing a robot that’s part of a modern blockbuster. Well, it did happen thanks to director Guillermo Del Toro. He was the man behind the camera for the 2013 film Pacific Rim. It appears that Del Toro wanted one of the movie’s robots to have a bit of the Wayne swagger as it walked.

John Wayne Influences Modern Blockbuster ‘Pacific Rim’

“Concept artist Oscar Chichoni and I discussed the idea of basing its shape on the art deco buildings of New York like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building and combining it with John Wayne,” says Del Toro. “I wanted him to have the gait of a gunslinger. If you watch the movie, he has the hip movement that gunslingers have in Western movies.” We get more from the New York Daily News.

In particular, he talked about Gipsy Danger, the Jaeger piloted by Raleigh and Mako in the movie. Gipsy Danger belongs to the United States. Putting some John Wayne into it definitely suits the type of imaging that Del Toro was looking for in the movie. That film earned $411 million in worldwide distribution.

Movie Director Worked With Artists On How Jaegers Would Look On Screen

As Del Toro talks about it, he would have 16 artists in his garage and they would get to work. “We would get together every day like kids and draw all day,” he says. “We designed about a hundred Kaijus and about a hundred Jaegers and every week we would do an ‘American Idol’ and we would vote them out.”

Is there anything more American as far as film lore goes than John Wayne and Westerns? I don’t think so. The fact that Wayne’s image and walking style were influencing this blockbuster speaks volumes about The Duke. Watch any Wayne movie as he strides into a saloon or sheriff’s office. You knew that when he walked in that John Wayne meant business. It’s just part of the Wayne mythology, too.

Movies in which he played always have scenes where he had to move from one place to another. Observing his style and mannerisms has been enough to lead old-school impressionists to have a Wayne impersonation in their acts. Think of guys like Rich Little and Frank Gorshin who would do Wayne at the drop of a cowboy hat. The measure of a man’s life is sometimes how he’s remembered. For John Wayne, fans old and new alike still watch his movies and enjoy seeing The Duke go after the bad guys. Over the decades since his death, new generations of movie fans are introduced to his movies. Westerns definitely were his forte and people love to catch them over and over again on TV.

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