Last month producer James Cameron said he and director Guillermo del Toro were hoping to get a deal closed with Tom Cruise to lead the movie adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s horror novella At the Mountains of Madness.
Cameron said del Toro was “madly working on a new draft of the script” and the hope was to “be shooting by June or July”, however before shooting can begin Universal has to give the project the greenlight, and with Mountains of Madness being a $150 million R-rated horror movie that won’t be an easy decision for them to make. Having a name like Tom Cruise attached helps, but today we have news which suggests Universal may be bailing on del Toro’s dream project.
Del Toro and his team have delivered a stunning visual presentation that met the studio’s budget specifications, but I’m told the studio is still wary about the R rating and price. It’s just a very hard decision. The film is more horror than action adventure and i’m told it would have to generate $500 million in worldwide grosses for the studio to earn its money back.
[del Toro] was supposed to have been given an answer before the end of 2010, but the process has stretched and stretched. The studio, which is under scrutiny of new Comcast owners, wasn’t going to pull the trigger. The filmmakers are trying to salvage Mountains by placing it at another studio, and that behind the scenes drama is still playing out. Because of the Cameron relationship, one obvious discussion is Fox.
Deadline states that as the greenlight process has taken so long, and looks unlikely, “Legendary Pictures is moving fast on a project del Toro likes called Pacific Rim, a Travis Beacham-scripted PG-13 tent pole-sized project with big monsters and the creation of a new world. It could very well be the next film del Toro directs.” At this point i’m sure del Toro just wants to get behind the camera on something. He spent 2 years waiting for The Hobbit (which funnily enough begins shooting this month) and now At the Mountains of Madness may not get off the ground.
The novella follows a group of scientists and archaeologists who travel to Antartica on an expedition. There they stumble upon the ancient relics of an abandoned city hitherto completely unknown to mankind and uncover a prehistoric species that is awakened only to wreak havoc on their victims. Hopefully Cameron’s influence leads the movie to 20th Century Fox, otherwise del Toro will have to move on to Pacific Rim, which sound cool enough, but Mountains of Madness is the movie del Toro fans are waiting for.