Thomas Roach wants to see Netflix reviving Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness…
Just last week it was announced that Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio project has received the green lit from Netflix. Del Toro had been working on the stop motion adaptation for some time, before stating back in 2017 that it was no longer happening, only for the streaming service to offer it a reprieve.
Coming of this year’s Academy Award win for his film The Shape of Water, it appears that Del Toro may have more weight to get his projects greenlit from now on. Pinocchio is only one of several del Toro projects that has found itself stuck in development hell – the filmmaker has also spent many years trying to adapt the H.P. Lovecraft story At the Mountains of Madness.
For those of you who don’t know, At the Mountains of Madness is a novella by H.P Lovecraft which tells the story of a scientific expedition in the Antarctic where they discover a hidden city inhabited by strange creatures. Del Toro has struggled to get this film made for many years due to wanting a large budget and an R-rating. Back in 2010 Del Toro said the following in regards to the film: “It’s very difficult for a studio to take the step doing an R-rated tentpole movie with a tough ending and no love story, set in period, from a writer, Lovecraft, who has a readership as big as any bestseller but cannot be quantified because his works are in public domain.”
It is worth mentioning that the performance of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (which borrowed a great deal of iconography from Lovecraft) led to studios not wanting to back R-rated horror. However, with the box office success of films like Deadpool, studios have been more willing to consider pursuing R-rated movies (see the new Halloween), so it is possible that del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness could now find a second life at Netflix, similar to that of Pinocchio?
Netflix has taken risks on bigger projects (i.e. Bright) and still appears to be very keen in creating original content. At the moment they are working with Martin Scorsese on his upcoming project The Irishman, which is said to have had a budget of $125 million (which it has reportedly exceeded by $50 million). Netflix certainly has a great deal of money to spend on this project and working with another great director like del Toro – with whom they have an established relationship through the animated Tales of Arcadia – and giving him the budget he wants for his film could lead to something great. However, I imagine giving Del Toro a budget of $150 million (which he requested from the studios) will rely on how successful both The Irishman and his Pinocchio project are for the streaming service.
Del Toro did seem to have a lot going for this film but studios just weren’t interested at the time. But with Netflix currently receiving positive reviews from their new series The Haunting of Hill House, they should certainly try and make a big budget horror film. Just looking at Del Toro’s previous films and the care and attention to detail that goes into them, it is clear that At the Mountains of Madness would be a very special project, and clearly something very close to the filmmaker’s heart.
Del Toro has previously mentioned that he has concept art for the film which he will unveil at some point, stating that: “One day, I’ll show you the art, I’ll show you everything we did. We did over 300 pieces of art, we did storyboards, we did models… we had a whole presentation. You will cry, you will go, ‘Why?’” Perhaps if this was released and the reaction was very positive, it could encourage Netflix to collaborate with the director again on this project. Only time will tell.
As much as this project would be amazing to be seen on the big screen, if studios are not willing to make these types of movies any more, then it is down to streaming services like Netflix to empower the creators and artists in order to make interesting and exciting projects people do want to see.
Would you like to see Netflix teaming up with del Toro for At the Mountains of Madness? Let us know in the comments below…
This article was originally published in November 2018.