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This report is kind of thin right now, but Collider says that it has sources saying there are conflicting desires for the leading man of Guillermo del Toro‘s adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft novel At the Mountains of Madness. The site’s report has it that Universal wants James McAvoy (who headed up the studio’s film Wanted) to star, while Guillermo del Toro wants Tom Cruise.

We’re assuming now that the lead roles is geologist William Dyer, of Miskatonic University. He narrates the original novella (going from memory here) in which Dyer and associates travel to Antarctica to investigate the disappearance of a research team. Turns out the team had uncovered remains of fourteen unusual life forms, some of which were in much better condition than others. Arriving at the destroyed camp, Dyer finds some of those life forms gone, and eventually finds and explores an ancient city that was once home to the ancient Elder Things.

We know the film will be huge, and that it will be darker than most tentpoles. Cruise, if available and willing, could help global box office, while he might make the film a more difficult sale at home. (Given that Guillermo del Toro has said he plans to shoot in May, Cruise’s availability isn’t a given. And he isn’t quick to sign on to films, either.)

McAvoy is a good bet, but remains an unknown for many audiences. He’d be an asset to the film, but wouldn’t help sell it. Frankly, it is surprising to hear that the studio wants McAvoy, but he’s a lot cheaper and less liable to be controlling than Cruise. My personal choice would certainly be McAvoy, but I can’t say I wouldn’t be interested to see what del Toro would do with Cruise.

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