After departing The Hobbit adaptation (much to our disappointment), writer/director Guillermo del Toro can now focus on all the other projects he’s had in the pipeline for awhile, including the likes of Slaughterhouse-Five, Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Another project on del Toro’s list is an adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft story At the Mountains of Madness.

Back in July we learned of the fantastic news that del Toro would be teaming up with mega-director and producer James Cameron, who will produce the At the Mountains of Madness adaptation. Something tells me this movie is going to be huge…

Thankfully nothing has gone wrong on the Mountains of Madness front (the dream team of del Toro and Cameron is thankfully still intact!) and in fact there are a couple of pretty big names now attached to the lead role in the film. According to sources over at Collider, Universal is eyeing James McAvoy for the adaptation, while del Toro (the creative force behind it) wants none other than Tom Cruise.

Those names are not to be sneezed at (Chris Pine was also mentioned but his schedule looks too jam-packed) and frankly I wouldn’t mind either McAvoy or Cruise int he lead role.

As far as who is more likely to be cast, I’m not sure which party would win out – the studio or del Toro. The studio is the one backing this thing with their money so I guess they would ultimately get to choose. On the other hand, Mountains of Madness is supposedly del Toro’s passion-project and if he truly wants Cruise to star then you can bet he’ll fight tooth and nail for him.

Besides, even if Cruise isn’t as big of a draw as he used to be, he’s still a fairly bankable name so it’s not like the studio would be losing out if del Toro got his way.

As for scheduling issues, as far as can be seen both Cruise and McAvoy will be free by the time Mountains of Madness starts shooting next May. Cruise has Mission: Impossible IV which starts shooting this October and then a possible Tropic Thunder spin-off focusing on his hilarious Len Grossman character.

McAvoy will soon start shooting X-Men: First Class where he’ll play a young Professor X and he also has an adaptation of the novel Cloud Atlas in the works from director Tom Tykwer (The International). However, all of these occupying projects will be done in 2010/ the start of 2011, so both Cruise and McAvoy should be done in time for when Mountains of Madness starts shooting.

I’m sure Mountains of Madness is going to be a huge project and the fact that the studio is after a known name for the lead role just solidifies that – they need that big name to help sell the film, right? As I said, I’d be happy if either Cruise or McAvoy got the role but If I had to choose between the two I’d go with McAvoy. But that’s just me.

At the Mountains of Madness is set to start shooting in May 2011 and presumably will be released sometime in late 2011/2012. Whenever it’s released you can expect to don your 3D glasses to watch the film (surprise, surprise).

Source: Collider