Guillermo del Toro (The Strain) has been working on an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s 1931 novella, At the Mountains of Madness, since 2004. First del Toro was set to create it with Dreamworks, but brought the script with him in 2007 when he made a deal at Universal Pictures. Although it was a passion project for del Toro, the adaptation was stuck in pre-production at Universal for years. When James Cameron joined the film as a producer, it seemed del Toro might make some headway on the project.
However, in 2011, Universal was still hesitant to give Madness (a $150 million R-rated horror film) the green light. Without the go ahead on Madness, del Toro moved on to another project: Pacific Rim. Now, with del Toro at his new directorial home of Legendary Pictures, there’s renewed possibility - albeit with some compromises in terms of rating - that his Lovecraft film will finally emerge from pre-production and make it to the big screen.
In an interview with WSJ promoting his new FX series, The Strain, del Toro discussed plans for Pacific Rim 2 as well as his adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness. Del Toro said he has talked to Legendary about the film and told them it’s the movie he would really love to do. He also said he is open to making the film PG-13 rather than R-rated, though it will still be expensive.
Read del Toro’s quote:
I think that now, with the way I’ve seen PG-13 become more and more flexible, I think I could do it PG-13 now, so I’m going to explore it with [Legendary], to be as horrifying as I can, but to not be quite as graphic. There’s basically one or two scenes in the book that people don’t remember that are pretty graphic.
For fans of the novella, del Toro is referring to a scene in which the main character, William Dyer, discovers a team of scientists who have been killed by the alien species they were studying. (Tom Cruise was originally slated to star as Dyer when the film was still at Universal.) However, del Toro is confident he can find a way to portray the scene without the gore that would warrant an R-rating.
Now that del Toro is working with Legendary, who are pleased with what they’ve seen from the project so far, he said it has a brighter future than when Universal pulled the plug three years ago.
Read del Toro’s quote:
It’s certainly a possibility in the future. Legendary was very close to doing it at one point, so I know they love the screenplay. So, we’ll see. Hopefully it’ll happen. It’s certainly one of the movies I would love to do.
Although it seems much more likely now that del Toro’s adaptation of Madness will see the light of day, there’s no telling when that may be. While del Toro recently dropped out of a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, he still has a lot on his plate: The Strain debuts on FX this month; his ghost horror flick, Crimson Peak, hits theaters in late 2015; and Pacific Rim 2 is set to debut in 2017, with an animated television series the year before.
Del Toro also has a few projects on the backburner: his adaptation of Pinocchio isn’t dead, though it isn’t moving forward either, and the director is (presumably) still interested in making a Justice League Dark movie for Warner Bros. With so much going on, not even del Toro is sure when a Madness film will come to fruition:
It would be great to do it, but I’ve understood that you don’t plan your career, it just happens.
Fans of At the Mountains of Madness can take heart in the news that the project isn’t entirely dead - it is, at the very least, less dead than it was three years ago - but it’s unclear when del Toro will resume production on the film. Presumably, he won’t start working on Madness again until after Pacific Rim 2 is finished (at the earliest!), so fans will have to wait at least another few years.
What do you think, Screen Rant readers? Would you be okay with a PG-13 At the Mountains of Madness? Let us know in the comments.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more details on At the Mountains of Madness as they become available.