Two days ago we got the rather depressing news that Universal had bailed on Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, despite James Cameron acting as producer and Tom Cruise ready to sign on. The studio was concerned about the $150 million budget and R-rating, and in a lengthy interview with Deadline del Toro spoke about his disappointment, but still hopes to make his dream project in the future.
Here are a few snippets:
They were blown away by the visual presentation, they openly admitted to loving the screenplay, saying it was dead on. And we hit the target on the budget they gave us, not a figure I arrived at. This came after months and months of story boarding, haggling with VFX companies, and bringing down the budget number. The week before the decision, I was scouting in the border of Canada and Alaska. We were a week away from opening offices in Toronto. We were crewed up, and frankly, I am as puzzled as most people are. One of the biggest, biggest points for me with this movie was the scope and the R, going hand in hand.
I think the R should be worn like a badge of merit in promoting the movie. To say, this is not a gory movie, not a movie full of profanity or violence, but it’s a really intense movie.
I have learned in the last few years that God laughs as we make plans. The beauty of it is, in the last few days, I spoke to Tom, who has been incredibly supportive and who said, ‘Let’s keep going, let’s make this movie down the road.’ He’s definitely that interested and that happy where we were creatively. So we have good legs to travel on, if the time and the opportunity present itself. But we’re going to fight for that to happen. I’ve been offered four or five times at different studios the chance to make this movie in what I think was the wrong way. With $20 million or $30 million less than what I need, with a contractual PG-13, and I don’t want to do it that way.
It’s definitely worth reading the full interview here.
Guillermo del Toro confirmed that Pacific Rim was next and the plan is to start shooting in September, although he said he couldn’t go into detail about it at this time. It was descibed earlier this week as “a PG-13 tent pole-sized project with big monsters and the creation of a new world”, so it’s something del Toro can get his teeth into after nearly 3 years without directing.