Posted on Monday, March 7th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
UPDATED: Well, this is not the outcome I’d hoped for. Shortly after word came out that Guillermo del Toro might go to Legendary and Warner Bros. to do Pacific Rim, word started to filter out that At the Mountains of Madness is really not happening. And the Criterion Cast has run an email where the director says the film is dead. RIP then to the GDT version of At the Mountains of Madness. Original article follows.
Over the past nine months we’ve been holding our breath while awaiting the final green light on Guillermo del Toro‘s passion project: an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft‘s At the Mountains of Madness. James Cameron helped him set up the project at Universal last year, and it has been moving through development rapidly, with creature designs being assembled as the script was fine-tuned. But as recently as last month a green light was elusive, even with Tom Cruise linked to the film.
Now comments from producer Don Murphy are being taken as implication that the film will shoot this June, and that Tom Cruise is definitely going to be facing down the Great Old Ones in the fictional Antarctic.
io9 spoke to the producer, who said the film is “supposed to shoot in June” and that Tom Cruise is a part of it. But “supposed to shoot” is a far cry from “will shoot.” At the Mountains of Madness is a massive project — James Cameron producing a Guillermo del Toro picture with Tom Cruise starring — which means that when this sucker is greenlit Universal will trumpet it to the heavens with a lengthy press release. That has not yet happened.
(Edit: After initially writing this piece, I found that Don Murphy had responded to queries about the film from HitFix, saying, “We are all trying to get Mountains up and running with Tom and Jim and everybody but no start date has been set AT ALL.”)
Shooting this summer has been the plan for some time. GDT said last year,
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.
And in a recent New Yorker profile, the director said that he wasn’t willing to compromise on his vision of the film, and that he’d walk away if the studio wouldn’t greenlight the version he had in mind:
I don’t want to make a movie called ‘At the Mountains of Madness.’ I want to make this movie. And if I cannot make this movie I’ll do something else. It’ll be horrible.
We’re hoping for the best — this is a movie I’d very much like to see, especially with this vision of the city built by Lovecraft’s unearthly creatures:
I wanted the whole city to be like an abandoned coral reef. A coral reef is a shitload of skeletons fused together, right? All the technology those creatures have, all their technology is organic. You and I use metals, plastics. These creatures don’t have weapons or chisels. They create other creatures as tools.