It’s been more than a year since we’ve heard substantive news of Ron Howard’s would-be Lovecraft biopic-meets-Lovecraft horror story, The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft. The project boasted a script from the original writer of the four-part graphic novel, and pretty clear enthusiasm from Howard about making it his next project.

Clearly that didn’t happen. But now it might, as a new script is being written by John August.

Of course, in the interim, a project of certain note has emerged and stoked the collective geek imagination about what a Lovecraft film can be. No matter how it ultimately turns out, a passionate Guillermo Del Toro backed by the all of the resources of and none of the interference from Jim Cameron sounds like something very close to an ideal scenario for a Lovecraft project, while a movie directed by Ron Howard from a short graphic novel does not. That said, a quieter horror story with a unique twist that’s shot by a filmmaker hungry to branch out isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. It seems that may still be Howard’s intention, as the project now shows signs of life with this new screenwriter.

John August is a name typically associated with Tim Burton, having written Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and the upcoming Frankenweenie. He also collaborated on the Charlie’s Angels films and he wrote and directed his own feature film, The Nines- a small movie from 2007 that stars Ryan Reynolds. His name was tossed around for Monsterpocalypse, but that eventually turned into a potential Burton vehicle too. It is likely that August’s collaborating with Burton that will stick with people most though, as the gothic director’s sensibilities possess a few shallow overlaps with what one would expect a Lovecraft film to be. August’s work with the director has been on the more quirky end of things though, with only Corpse Bride stepping into the cheerful melancholy of Burton’s wheelhouse. Big Fish is admittedly the most commonly lauded of Burton’s recent work, with August’s more character-centered script providing the backbone for the director’s arguably most heartfelt film.

Will any of this translate to a tale of an author discovering that his own bizarre and dark literary creations are coming to life around him? Who knows. Trying to cinematically represent the world of Lovecraft is such a unique challenge that any successful film would have to be a unique synthesis of character, story, visual texture, pacing, and overall tone that a script nor a director are not enough to judge. Perhaps these collaborators will surprise us with something that taps into the heart of the author’s darkness, or the project will quietly die again, or it will get made and flatly suck. Too early to call, even for Cthulhu. My eyes remain on the Del Toro project first and foremost, but there’s always more lurking in the shadows.

Source | The Tracking Board via /Film

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