Guillermo del Toro Eager to Resurrect ‘Mountains of Madness’ at Netflix: ‘Smaller, Weirder’ Version
“ At the Mountains of Madness ” has long been Guillermo del Toro ’s unmade passion project, and it turns out it’s not dead just yet. During an interview on “The Kingcast” podcast , del Toro revealed that “Mountains” was one of the first projects he presented to Netflix after he signed a multi-year deal with the streamer in 2020. As the filmmaker said, “Take a wild guess which were the first projects I presented, you know? I went through the cupboard and found ‘Monte Cristo’ and ‘Mountains of Madness.’ Those were a couple of the ones I presented first.”
Del Toro has long wanted to adapt H.P. Lovecraft’s science fiction-horror novella “At the Mountains of Madness.” The project seemed a possibility after the Oscar-winning filmmaker left “The Hobbit” in 2010. At that point, Universal announced it would make “Mountains” with del Toro as a 3D movie starring Tom Cruise and produced by James Cameron. Come March 2011, the studio had pulled the plug on del Toro because financing a $150 million movie with an intended R-rating was too much of a risk.
“We thought we had a very good, safe package,” del Toro said in 2017 while reflecting on the failed movie. “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.”
Speaking on “The Kingcast” podcast , del Toro said that he is still interested in helming “At the Mountains of Madness” as long as he can rewrite his original script.
“The screenplay I co-wrote 15 years ago is not the screenplay I would do now, so I need to do a rewrite,” del Toro said. “Not only to scale it down somehow, but because back then I was trying to bridge the scale of it with elements that made it somewhat able to go through the studio machinery. Blockbustery. And I think I don’t need to reconcile that anymore. I can go to a far more esoteric, weirder, smaller version of it where I can go back to some of the scenes that were left out.”
“Some of the big set pieces I designed, for example, I have no appetite for,” Del Toro continued. “I’ve already done this or that set piece, I feel like going in a weirder direction. I know a few things will stay. I know the ending we have is one of the most intriguing, weird, unsettling endings for me, so there’s about four horror set pieces that I love in the original script.”
Next up for del Toro is the release of his pandemic-delayed noir “Nightmare Alley,” which opens in theaters from Searchlight Pictures on December 17.