If there’s one film project that will make sci-fi nerds collapse to the floor and start twitching… it’s The Phantom Menace. But if there are two, the second is Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, an H.P. Lovecraft passion project that got the kibosh after years of work on del Toro’s part because it turns out Universal didn’t want to risk spending hundreds of millions of dollars on an R-rated horror movie.
But hope isn’t dead yet, at least according to del Toro, who unforgivably got our hopes up in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
According to the director, now that he’s all buddy-buddy with Legendary Pictures for Pacific Rim 2, he might sidle up to them and see if they’d be willing to take Mountains on. After all, they have a partnership with Universal, which got so close to giving the greenlight originally. “It’s still expensive,” explains del Toro, but:
“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. Namely, for example, the human autopsy that the aliens do, which is a very shocking moment. But I think I can find ways of doing it. We’ll see. 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.”
He went on to say that there’s a “strong possibility” Legendary will do the movie. “The fact that we now have two studios together that love the material, and if they support each other, they are risking a lot less. It would be great to do it, but I’ve understood that you don’t plan your career, it just happens.”
All the more reason to see Pacific Rim 2: Maybe if we avoid another Grown-Ups 2 fiasco and convince Legendary how financially viable del Toro is, they might actually get around to plucking At the Mountains of Madness out of development hell one of these decades. I’m a little hesitant about the PG-13 thing—not because I don’t trust that del Toro can make a horrifying movie with a relatively small amount of gore, but because studios don’t tend to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into horror movies of any rating. I can’t picture the number of people seeing it who would see, say, a Captain America movie. So I remain more skeptical than del Toro is about Legendary picking up the movie.
But del Toro: You shine on, you crazy, optimistic diamond.