Guillermo del Toro might be one of the most talented and recognizable filmmakers in the industry, but despite having picked up Academy Award wins for Best Picture and Best Director for his last movie The Shape of Water, not even someone with his standing in Hollywood can avoid the minefield of studio politics.
As well as spending years trying to finish his Hellboy trilogy to no avail, before the producers instead decided to reboot it with disastrous results, del Toro also came incredibly close to finally getting his other passion project off the ground. H.P. Lovecraft adaptation At the Mountains of Madness fits right in the director’s fantastical wheelhouse, but even with Tom Cruise attached to star and James Cameron set to produce, Universal were reluctant to part with the $150 million it would have cost to bring the story to life.
As well as del Toro’s refusal to budge from wanting to make it R-rated, once Ridley Scott’s Prometheus hit theaters it was noted that both scripts contained a lot of similarities, and At the Mountains of Madness ultimately fell apart just months before cameras were supposed to start rolling.
However, in a recent interview, the Pan’s Labyrinth director made it abundantly clear that he’ll spend the rest of his life trying to get the movie made one way or another, even if At the Mountains of Madness remains stuck in development hell by the time he shuffles off to his mortal coil.
“This is why I wear this ring, since the project got cancelled. This is the fake ring about a fake university, the one that appears in the book, Miskatonic University, and I’m gonna wear it until I make the movie. They may bury me with it. It’s difficult to tackle. We had James Cameron as a co-producer with me, we had Tom Cruise, and we thought we were gonna get it made and we didn’t, it didn’t happen. These are not decisions you make. Most of us filmmakers, we exist in a world that moves above our pay-grade. People think that our career is a series of decisions. Our career is a series of accidents happening with your decisions on top. You don’t decide to do one movie instead of another.”
Even with a couple of Oscar wins under his belt, there’s no guarantee that one of the major studios will take a chance on the director’s At the Mountains of Madness, despite the A-list talent involved. Unless somebody steps in then, it looks to be going the same way as del Toro’s Hellboy III, The Hobbit, the Fantastic Voyage remake and the numerous other movies that he’s signed up for but never actually made.