After Universal pulled the plug on his adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's classic novella At the Mountains of Madness, director Guillermo del Toro quickly moved on to another long-gestating project that involved fearsome monsters wreaking havoc - Pacific Rim. The film was originally confused with the upcoming Godzilla reboot and although there are certain similarities, Travis Beacham's script is an original story that also has shades of Avatar and Japanese anime.
Pacific Rim's action-centric plot and PG-13 rating probably won't completely satisfy fans who were looking forward to witnessing del Toro's uncompromising take on the bleak and visceral subject matter featured in At the Mountains of Madness - but after being attached to an unending list of films over the last few years, it's at least encouraging to see the eclectic auteur making legitimate progress with his latest venture.
In the film, a portal to another world opens up somewhere in the Pacific Ocean and the giant monsters spilling out of it begin attacking coastal cities. In response to these attacks, pairs of trained military pilots are placed inside giant mechanical suits of armor adorned with high-tech weaponry so that they can do battle with these otherworldly invaders.
After the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Legendary Pictures demanded that the Pacific Rim script be rewritten so that none of the action scenes would take place in that nation. Some found this to be an unnecessary move on the part of the studio and feared that the last thing del Toro needed was another string of setbacks.
Pacific Rim looks to be on track, however, and Deadline is reporting that Charlie Hunnam is in negotiations to take the lead role in the film. After appearing in the original UK version of Queer as Folk and Judd Apatow's short-lived series Undeclared, Hunnam began turning up in films like Cold Mountain, Green Street Hooligans, and Children of Men. The English actor is probably best known for his performance as Jackson "Jax" Teller on the FX drama Sons of Anarchy.
In Pacific Rim, Hunnam will play Raleigh Antrobus - one of the aforementioned military pilots. The Playlist has managed to take a peek at Travis Beacham's script and they indicate that when the film begins, Raleigh has recently lost his brother in one of the attacks and is sent back into battle with his new partner - a young Japanese woman named Mako.
Hunnam has been flirting with mainstream success for several years (he even screen tested for Thor) and Pacific Rim looks like it could turn out to be the high profile project that he's been waiting for. His latest film, The Ledge, recently debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and he can next be seen in Blackbird - a crime thriller co-starring Olivia Wilde and Eric Bana.
Pacific Rim almost sounds like it could be a Saturday morning cartoon - but Beacham's script has managed to generate a considerable amount of buzz and with del Toro at the helm, there's a better-than-average chance that this will turn into something well worth our attention.
Pacific Rim is scheduled to start shooting in September and will likely be released at some point in the summer of 2013.