At the Mountains of Madness

  Tags: 3d, At the Mountains of Madness, based on book, creatures, Cthulhu, DEAD PROJECTS, development hell, Guillermo del Toro, H.P. Lovecraft, James Cameron, period piece, Universal Pictures

Based on a tale by H.P. Lovecraft, the film would detail a gruesome discovery made during the 1930's by a scientific expedition to the South Pole, which hints at the true origin of mankind having come from elder gods from another planet. They soon realize that during this discovery they may have also accidentally awakened prehistoric creatures...


Development Hell
Universal Pictures
James Cameron
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro
Matthew Robbins

  • While this project is still in development hell, Guillermo del Toro did offer more details on what he did in hopes of possibly winning over the studio, saying: "we did over 300 pieces of art, we did storyboards, we did models … we had a whole presentation." He then added.. "We thought we had a very good, safe package. It was $150 [million], Tom Cruise and James Cameron producing, ILM doing the effects, here’s the art, this is the concept, because I really think big-scale horror would be great … but there was a difference of opinion; the studio didn’t think so. The R [rating] was what made it. If Mountains had been PG-13, or I had said PG-13 … I’m too much of a Boy Scout, I should have lied, but I didn’t." (4/6/17)
  • Guillermo del Toro had a recent interview where he describes a change of heart in terms of the potential rating for the film, saying: "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." (7/4/14)
  • Despite having James Cameron as producer and possibly Tom Cruise as star, it seems that Universal just couldn't agree to fund a potential 100+ million dollar R-rated project, and del Toro recently revealed that his "dream project" is once again dead. (3/08/11).
  • Guillermo del Toro had a recent interview where he had this to say on the following...
  • Tom Cruise: "He was without a doubt, absolutely in favor of being in the movie. We met extensively, both in Canada and the U.S., dozens of times. Final polishes of the screenplay met with his approval.."
  • Universal: "...we were given the parameters of a budget and screenplay, and I was given the chance by the studio to create a visual presentation. They were blown away by the visual presentation, they openly admitted to loving the screenplay, saying it was dead on. And we hit the target on the budget they gave us, not a figure I arrived at. This came after months and months of story boarding, haggling with VFX companies, and bringing down the budget number. The week before the decision, I was scouting in the border of Canada and Alaska. We were a week away from opening offices in Toronto. We were crewed up, and frankly, I am as puzzled as most people are.."
  • Another studio: "We were gauging interest and there was interest, very serious interest, but nothing that could happen before Universal names the terms in which they would allow us to try and set it up somewhere else. That is my hope right now that they just allow us to seek a home for this."
  • The Rating: "Ultimately, I think the MPAA could rule the movie PG-13 because the movie and the book are not gory. If that is the outcome, fine. But I don’t want to put the PG-13 on paper, for one reason. We created Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, thinking we would be safe looking for PG-13 because we had no profanity, no sex, no gore, but we made a very intense movie in a very classical mold. And the MPAA gave it an R. They said the movie was too intense for a PG-13. The only think I know about Mountains is, I do not want it to be bloody, I do not want it to be crass, but I want it to be as intense as possible.  And those discussions were had in the open. Everyone knew this was my position, that I knew I was asking the chance for the movie to be what it needs to be. I don’t think it’s a good idea to relinquish that on paper."
  • Filming was originally rumored to begin sometime in June of 2011.
  • Tom Cruise is apparently interested in starring in the film.
  • Guillermo del Toro intends to make the movie "really uncomfortable and nasty."
  • Guillermo del Toro revealed in an interview that the film would not be gory and the victims in the film would be "absorbed" in an "eerie and scary" way by the creatures.
  • James Cameron produces and plans to help develop this for 3D.
  • At one point del Toro planned to have a small role for actor Ron Perlman (Hellboy). 
  • Guillermo del Toro revealed that a big reason why it was so hard to get a studio to back this project was due to his commitment on making it a big-budgeted R-rated period horror film, all of which studios are afraid of.
  • In 2007 Guillermo del Toro made a deal with Universal to develop the project after completing Hellboy 2, but surprisingly agreed to co-write and helm two installments of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit instead. He dropped from The Hobbit after production delays, which would have hindered the production starts of several other projects he has lined up. He is now free to pursue his reported "dream project".
  • Apparently del Toro has been pursuing this project for over 13 years, but movement didn't actually start to occur until around 2003/2004 when DeamWorks came on board, however plans with the studio obviously fell through.
  • Guillermo del Toro was once quoted saying, "this will be my epic horror film."
  • Based on a tale by H.P. Lovecraft.





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