It was reported in July that Guillermo del Toro will direct an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, “At the Mountains of Madness”, in 3D, with James Cameron producing the whole shebang for Universal. There are now some major casting rumors making the rounds. Collider reports that the studio wants James McAvoy to star, while del Toro wants none other than Scientology proponent Tom Cruise to take the lead role. Del Toro and Cruise originally discussed working together on an updated Van Helsing story that never materialized.
It doesn’t appear that “Madness” is going to happen next for anyone. Cruise is about to begin shooting “Mission: Impossible 4” in October, and McAvoy is going to film “X-Men: First Class” with Matthew Vaughn soon. Production is set to begin in May 2011.
The story is written in first-person perspective by the geologist William Dyer, a professor from Miskatonic University. He writes to disclose hitherto unknown and closely kept secrets in the hope that he can deter a planned and much publicized scientific expedition to Antarctica. On a previous expedition there, a party of scholars from Miskatonic University, led by Dyer, discovered fantastic and horrific ruins and a dangerous secret beyond a range of mountains taller than the Himalayas.
Last week Temple of Ghoul reviewed a leaked version of the script, and I have to say, I’m disappointed with the direction of the project. Despite the presence of monsters, “At the Mountains of Madness” is not heavy on the action. It relies on the atmosphere and tension of the setting to drive the story. The script is essentially a monster based action film, with little to no attention paid to atmosphere or suspense. And just because it’s a Lovecraft story doesn’t automatically mean that Cthulhu is involved. Cthulhu isn’t anywhere near Antarctica, but that doesn’t stop the script from dropping him in.
I’m sure that “At the Mountains of Madness” will be awesome in it’s own right, but it also won’t be the movie that the book deserves.