Many of us are still smarting from the blow that came with news of Guillermo Del Toro losing the opportunity to make At The Mountains of Madness with Universal. I certainly feel like an ass, as I just the day before wondered aloud how anyone could be so hesitant and unsure of a project that was surely about to happen. Even those who were skeptical of the film itself or even of Del Toro surely felt some disappointment than an ambitious, unique project was once again shut down due to crass business decisions that feel as much rooted in cynicism as pragmatism. Regardless, the deed is for now done, and we now have a different monster movie to look forward to from Del Toro.

Deadline was able to speak with the filmmaker, who candidly explains (as much as he is able), what happened, and why. It’s well worth reading, and you should certainly consume the entire thing. A few specifically interesting statements though…

On the scale, budget, and possible profitability…

“As far as the movie grossing that much, obviously I’m not impartial, but I have to believe that with 3D, Tom Cruise, Jim Cameron, the scope of Lovecraft’s novel that is one his best regarded and most widely known works, I would venture that it could absolutely have been done. I think the R should be worn like a badge of merit in promoting the movie.”

On his dedication to the project and his disappointment with the results…

“I had to believe right along that they were betting as much as I was. I was betting essentially everything I had, in terms of leverage, betting nine months of development when I was on The Hobbit. This was for me a do or die movie.”

On the possibility of it still happening…

“Frankly, I think we’ve come so close with Mountains that to me it’s an indicator of the great possibility we will get to make it, as soon as possible. As long as the idea stays fresh and no one beats me to it, in terms of the origins of the monsters, the scope and the aspect of Antarctica where these creatures are discovered, I will continue to press forward. I’m knocking on wood. I have great partners in Jim Cameron and Lightstorm, and Don Murphy and Susan Montford, great partners in this adventure who are not giving up and not letting me give up.”

There’s much, much more he has to say, but it’s clear that the decision was as much a shock for him as it was for us. It seems everything was edged right up to the starting gate, and it really just came down to money and weak knees. There’s still light at the end of the tunnel though, just many years out at least. It’s good to know that Cruise, Cameron, and the rest of Guillermo’s team are still behind him and the project, and one hopes that Universal will do what is right and let them actively pursue another backer.

So we must once again let our excitement for a true-blue Lovecraft film go dormant for a while, and turn our attention to Pacific Rim, a film that under any other circumstances would been announced to much fanfare. The film is  unique vision from the director, original, and will absolutely begin shooting this year (though not till September, so there’s still the feeling that we’ve been robbed of far too much productivity from Guillermo), so get excited!

More details on Pacific Rim when Del Toro is finally able to drop some details, which should be soon, now that his considerable momentum has shifted.

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