After years of preparation, Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness has finally received the green light and is “supposed to shoot” this June, says producer Don Murphy.
The film, centered on an expedition to Antarctica that uncovers a dark, mysterious force, was announced last summer as del Toro’s next film after the director exited the big-budget, two-part adaptation of The Hobbit.
In the interview with i09, Murphy suggested the summer start date, but the outlet learned the projected timeline isn’t set in stone yet. Neither is the involvement of Tom Cruise, who has often been rumored for the lead as del Toro’s first choice.
Murphy said Cruise is on board — no, he’s not playing “Madness” — but the actor’s representation was quick to clarify Cruise has not officially signed for the fantastical horror project just yet. He was recently added to the cast of Rock of Ages, an ’80s jukebox musical that will feature Cruise belting out Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” while swishing a mane of long rockstar hair.
Ron Perlman, who played Hellboy for del Toro in two comic book movies, has said he has a part in the film as well, playing a no-nonsense expedition leader.
Update: Guillermo del Toro’s next will be Pacific Rim instead. Click here for more details.
But, while nothing is concrete just yet, news of the film’s advancement is music to the ears of del Toro and Lovecraft fans alike. Del Toro has been sketching images from the novella since 1993 and completed a script by ’98. Like Cameron’s Avatar, the technology simply wasn’t there to realize his concept, including shape-shifting creatures and an epic scope. The writer-director later developed a new adaptation in 2006, but ran into money issues at Warner Bros. But when del Toro’s schedule cleared and he reinvigorated his focus on the material, the project was set up at Universal with James Cameron producing and overseeing the 3D production. Again, budget concerns have held up scheduling, until now.
In a fantastic piece on del Toro in The New Yorker, the director called his vision “so terrifying” and allowed detailed descriptions of the horrific creatures designed at Cameron’s production company, Lightstorm. Morphing Shoggoths, symmetrical slave-like alien beings, are compared to tapeworms, cucumbers, jellyfish, even a “botched circumcision” and given in the vicinity of eight permutations of undulating mass.
Murphy said “the script is very close to the H.P. Lovecraft source material.” However, del Toro has managed to incorporate Lovecraft’s gargantuan, tentacled monster Cthulu into the film’s climax, a departure from the novella. In the New Yorker, the concept artist had drawn the creature surrounded by floating parasites, giving the monster a haloed, regal look. A quote from the script reads, “Its membranous wings extend, filling the horizon, its abominable head silhouetted by lightning in the clouds!” I have a feeling we will all be in awe when this movie is finally made.