We’ll probably be talking a lot about At the Mountains of Madness over the next year, as Guillermo del Toro prepares the project and, if things go well, the cameras roll. We’ve already heard a bit about the film from producer James Cameron‘s perspective, but now Guillermo del Toro has explained some of his approach to bringing the horrors of H.P. Lovecraft back to movie screens.

Deadline
has a huge interview with Guillermo del Toro from TIFF. There’s a lot of valuable material in there, including del Toro’s take on the general state of film distribution, why and how he goes about producing films from other directors, and the reasons behind the pending remake of The Orphanage.

(“When I was going to produce The Orphanage with Bayona, I had a lot of notes, and out of 20, Antonio took 2. My notes took the movie in such a different direction, which is what I thought it should be, that I told  Juan Antonio, I’ll come on board, but I want to remake the movie after, as producer. I believe there is a second chance at the same tale, from a very different perspective.”)

But for the most part, let’s pay attention to At the Mountains of Madness. First up, as we’ve known, the script floating around the internet is old, and a different version is what got James Cameron and Universal to bite. And the film is not yet greenlit.

We are not green lit, we are still budgeting and designing, and we are partners on this. I believe in my heart we are going to be making this movie in June of next year. We are budgeting the creatures and met with Spectral Motion and ILM, where Dennis Muren told me the sweetest words ever when he said, no one has ever seen monsters like this.

The attraction of the film for del Toro is the prospect of returning to horror, and the fact that the scale of Lovecraft’s monsters should keep the movie firmly rooted in the genre.

Because the proportion is so big. When the monster has a dimension that allows you to humanize it, that’s the route I usually want to go. The cosmic proportions of the Lovecraft horror are so immense, it forces you to find humanity in other aspects of the tale. You can keep the monster inhuman, remote and scary, which is a great benefit.

And his claims about the realization of those monsters is, appropriately, also on a grand scale.

The way the creatures are rendered and done is going to bring forth an aspect of Lovecraft that has not been done on live action films. Part of my speech was, I’m putting all the chips I have accumulated in 20 years as a director, betting them on a single number.  This is not just a movie and then move on to the next. It’s do or die time for me. Cameron does his movies like that every time and I find it surprising the way people judge success in retrospect, like, of course, I would have done that. Avatar was the largest gamble, again, so were Titanic and Terminator 2. I love that type of filmmaker, with those gigantic stainless steel balls, Alec Baldwin-style in Glengarry Glen Ross, fucking clanking together. You can’t explain success in retrospect.

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