Despite working behind the scenes as a creative consultant or producer on animated pics like Kung Fu Panda 2 or an impending new (and darker) take on Pinocchio - not to mention, his work as co-writer and producer on this summer's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - it's been four years since the release of a film that was directed by Guillermo del Toro.
That will change in two years' time, as del Toro's humans vs. monsters flick, Pacific Rim, has locked down a release date. If the Hellboy filmmaker has his way, though, he'll follow up the big-budget sci-fi picture with his recently-collapsed passion project, an At the Mountains of Madness adaptation.
Warner Bros. has finally settled on a July 12th, 2013 release date for Pacific Rim, which looks to feature Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba as soldiers who pilot enormous mechanized suits - in order to battle giant creatures that attack Earth through a portal that connects our world to theirs.
Here is what del Toro told Collider about the status of Pacific Rim:
"…so far, knock on wood, it’s the greatest experience of my life. I’m having a blast, designing like crazy. I’m now hiring actors, which is always a good sign, always a great sign when you’re casting... The other thing that we’re heading towards is an impeding start date the first week in November, so we have 20 weeks to start shooting the biggest giant monster movie ever made."
On the one hand, Pacific Rim does read like a mash-up of plot and technology elements from other popular sci-fi titles (Avatar, Stargate, Godzilla, etc.). On the other hand, creature features are very much del Toro's forte, and the complex mythology of the film's universe (as devised by screenwriter Travis Beacham) sounds promising as well. So we'll definitely be keeping an eye on the progress of this one.
At the Mountains of Madness
Despite having both Guillermo del Toro and James Cameron working behind-the-scenes, a big screen adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness collapsed earlier this year - due to its expected high cost ($150 million) and del Toro's plans to make the sci-fi/horror picture R-Rated.
Pre-production on Mountains of Madness was essentially complete when Universal pulled the plug on the project, which looked to star Tom Cruise as the leader of an Antarctic expedition that encounters bizarre (and dangerous) creatures while exploring the remains of an ancient civilization. Judging by his comments to the LA Times, del Toro is far from ready to throw the towel in on the film just yet:
"I’m not giving up… ‘Mountains of Madness’ has been with me for 13, 14 years and I really don’t want to give up on it… ‘Mountains of Madness,’ the way I plan to do it is a very peculiar take, and I think if I don’t stick with it the version I would like to see would never get made... I’m going to keep pursuing [Mountains]… Universal is still really interested in doing it. Coming out of ‘Pacific Rim,’ I intend to see if we can do it immediately."
Lovecraftian horror fans were quite excited about the prospect of the Pan's Labyrinth filmmaker tackling the disturbing tale that is Mountains of Madness. Here's hoping the project doesn't suffer the fate of Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and is actually able to secure proper funding in the future.
To reiterate: Pacific Rim is officially set for theatrical release on July 12th, 2013.