If you’ve ever had a nightmare about being chased by the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth, you may already be aware that Guillermo del Toro is capable of creating some truly terrifying horror moments. The director’s work so far has often leaned towards the dark and strange, even in action movies like Hellboy and Blade II, so the news that his next directing project would be a gothic horror story called Crimson Peak came as welcome news.

From what we have been able to glean, Crimson Peak sounds like it will be made in the style of classic haunted house tale, but with a healthy mix of love, sex and violence. Del Toro co-wrote the script with Matthew Robbins (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark) and Lucinda Coxon (The Heart of Me), and has said that it will be influenced by film’s like The Haunting and The Shining.

After watching The Devil’s Backbone, it’s hard to imagine anyone turning down the opportunity to star in another del Toro ghost movie but, according to Variety, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) has done just that. When Cumberbatch took the role earlier this year, we theorized that he might be playing the villain of Crimson Peak, based on the positive critical response to his role in Star Trek Into Darkness. Fans who were excited at the prospect of Cumberbatch and del Toro teaming up will no doubt be disappointed to hear that this match won’t happen after all – not yet, at least.

The reasons behind Cumberbatch’s decision to walk away from Crimson Peak are still unknown. Perhaps he’s a member of the Anti-Kaiju Defamation League and was offended by the slanderous depiction of the giant interdimensional monsters in Pacific Rim (apologies to the AKDL for calling them monsters – Kaiju are people too). More likely, however, is that the shooting schedule for one of Cumberbatch’s many other projects clashed with that of Crimson Peak, and the actor had to make a tough call.

The cameras are set to start rolling on Crimson Peak in summer 2014, and del Toro recently told Screen Rant that he will most likely go back to shooting on film after using digital cameras for the first time on Pacific Rim. Still attached to the project are that film’s star, Charlie Hunnam, and Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty).

The specifics of Cumberbatch’s former role had not yet been revealed, but the producers will no doubt already be searching for a suitable replacement, just as they did when Emma Stone left the project and had her shoes filled shortly afterwards by Mia Wasikowska. One actor that springs to mind is Tom Hiddleston, who seems to be twinned with Cumberbatch in the public consciousness since the actors shared a screen in War Horse and have a fair few things in common (mainly cheekbones), but only time will tell which actor will be cast in Cumberbatch’s place.

Are you sad to see Cumberbatch and del Toro part ways on Crimson Peak? Tell us why you think the actor walked away from the film, and who you think would be the best replacement for him, in the comments.

Crimson Peak is expected to release some time in 2015.

Source: Variety