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At the Mountains of Madness - del Toro Speaks

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Julie K, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. Ron-P

    Ron-P Well-Known Member

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  2. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    Found this article on http://www.fangoria.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2093:del-toro-has-designs-on-frankenstein-and-madness&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=167
     
  3. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Well-Known Member

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  4. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    Found some more tantalizing info, courtesy of SHOCK TILL YOU DROP:
    Last night, Guillermo del Toro spoke as part of The New York Times' "TimesTalks" series in Manhattan, partly to discuss this week's release of he and Chuck Hogan's second vampire novel in the "Strain" series, "The Fall." Of course, the discussion hosted by Jason Zinoman eventually became focused on del Toro's filmmaking career, and the always-articulate director spoke enthusiastically about his next project, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness", which he and screenwriter Matthew Robbins have been trying to get onscreen for over a decade. Here are a few revealing, sometimes hilarious select quotes regarding the project…
    "We've been designing for the last 3-weeks. It's being produced by James Cameron, who's been a friend for 20-years," del Toro said, "we have avoided working together until the time came for the right project. Obviously, the difference between the novella and the movie is that Lovecraft had a gift for making everything specifically ambiguous. He would say 'the leering face loaded with madness,’ or 'the evil perverse entity of unnamable'… everything was unnamable, indescribable. When you're reading you go,'Whoa!' your brain fills those spaces. For every creature, everyone has a secret mental image of what those creatures look like. It's going to be impossible to please everyone."
    "The other thing that Lovecraft does in the novella, brilliantly, is essentially a very dry document," he added. "Thee reason why I read folklore is because folklore is almost stated as fact. It makes it all the more scary. You read a book that says, 'In the moors of so-and-so I had this dog who wanders the land of so-and-so, and a woman wails behind him, a pale spectrum,' and that's it! You go, 'Oh, well… I guess that happens.' When you read books like 'Passport to the Supernatural' or 'Chronicle of Vampirism', they just state it. 'In the town of so-and-so a shoemaker dies. Three days later he came back to haunt his family, and his rotting corpse…' [laughs] It's so factual. Lovecraft was the same. It's a very scientific expedition, only things go really wrong by him, and then by the end there's a few visible moments. Everything that is non-specific in literature has to be specific."
    "You are loyal to the adaptation of the tale to another medium. I think the worst thing you can do is be slavish to the original document and then destroy the movie. You're not going to get a medal for being loyal. You're going to get a medal for making a good movie. I always say, jokingly, that adapting somebody else's work is like marrying a widow. You have to be respectful of the memory of the late husband but at some point [slaps hand suggestively]."
    Del Toro went on to enthuse, "I've been thinking of those monsters for twenty years. Fortunately for me no one has done monsters like the ones I'm doing. In all the movies ever made there's never been monsters like the ones we're doing. About two weeks ago we were visited by Dennis Muren. He looked at the designs, and he turned to us and said, 'No one has seen monsters like this ever.' I was like, [boyish grin] 'Yeah!' I was happy and vindicated and all that. All I'm telling you is to me some of these monsters are more real than many of my cousins. [laughs] I mean, I have to point to them when we're at dinner, [whispers] 'who's that, Pedro? PEDRO!' But monsters I know what they had for lunch, for dinner, the biological condition, where they come from. I know all these questions because I live with them in my mind all the time."
    "It's not only because I want it to be unique, it's because the way I have imagined the creatures for years is my own. I think monsters have to be powerful, fascinating, and you have to be fascinated in the most strict sense of the word. You cannot avert your eyes from them. There's a school of thought that says the unseen is more powerful, and I agree to a point. Then there is another type of horror movie that is a monster movie, in which the fascination of seeing the monster, and seeing the monster do its deed, is very powerful. Most people watch National Geographic secretly waiting to watch the lion attack the gazelle. [laughs] Ultimately, I think there is a part of monster lore that requires the payoff."
    Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's "The Fall" is in bookstores now. A Criterion Collection edition of del Toro's debut movie Cronos will be available on December 7th.
     
  5. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Thanks for posting. "At the Mountains of Madness" totally creeped me out when I read it as a kid. I love del Toro's enthusiasm and I'm *really* looking forward to this film. Lovecraft has influenced a lot of his work and it'll be great to see him actually DO Lovecraft! I can't think of another director working today that would be a better fit for the material.
     
  6. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    Being a big fan of Ron Perlman this is very welcome news.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Del Toro's Got Some Madness to Lay on Perlman
     
  7. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    More Del Toro news courtesy of FANGORIA:
     
    Last fall, it was announced that genre maestro Guillermo del Toro would be teaming with Walt Disney Pictures on a series of projects under the banner “Disney Double Dare You,” specializing in animated features with a scary bent. Now comes word that the filmmaker will instead be making his animation home at DreamWorks.
     
    According to The Hollywood Reporter, del Toro will begin the new partnership with the same movie that was supposed to launch the old: TROLLHUNTERS, which he is currently writing and will direct. “I wanted very much to develop a story that could be written for kids but dealt with a genre that was scary,” he tells the trade. “It essentially combines fairy tales with modern times and is about how difficult it is to be a kid. Normally, kids are idealized in animated films. But the growing pains, married with the notion that there is a world right next to us that is completely plagued by creatures of ancient lore, is thematically fitting with the rest of my stuff.”
     
    Del Toro plans to complete the TROLLHUNTERS script before he begins shooting his next live-action feature, AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS (which he updated us on here). He’ll also be involved with the development of other upcoming DreamWorks animated flicks, including KUNG FU PANDA 2, PUSS IN BOOTS and another project to be announced, and even consulted on the editing and pacing of the studio’s MEGAMIND, which hits theaters in November. He still plans to make the live-action HAUNTED MANSION for Disney, on top of all the adult-oriented films he has in the works. “People say, ‘How does he do it?’ ” he tells the Reporter. “Well, I don’t work on them at the same time. MIDNIGHT DELIVERY [a movie he’ll produce for Universal], I wrote 11 years ago. The fact that they are happening now is flattering and great, but it doesn't mean I’m writing seven screenplays at one time.” Look for more from del Toro at this site soon.
     
  8. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    The latest on MOUNTAINS, from SCREENRANT, mentions script revisions, which I'm not too keen on, and a release date:

    Director Guillermo del Toro’s on again, off again adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness looks like it has a production start date of July 2011. The story deals with an Antarctic expedition that discovers the ruins of an ice-covered, ancient city where they awaken a prehistoric, alien civilization.

    Having read del Toro’s script adaptation, I found it to be spot on with Lovecraft’s book, though a new version includes not only much more character backstory, but also has several of the crew converting into the “Elder Things” as the rest of the expedition fights them off – with William Dyer as the sole survivor, left to tell of the ill-fated expedition.

    The script now reads more like a version of John W. Campbell’s novella, “Who Goes There?” which was the basis for the 1952 Howard Hawks classic, The Thing From Another World and John Carpenter’s, 1982 version: The Thing.

    With del Toro’s touch, I’m sure he’ll deliver the goods, visually. He has this William Cameron Menzies vision that draws audiences into his work, but will this new revelation in the story harm or help it? After all, there have been two cinematic versions of The Thing and now a prequel movie is going to be released next year. Do we need another variation of Campbell’s work – instead of sticking to Lovecraft’s book?

    Granted, Lovecraft stories are unusual to begin with and there is a lack of a damsel-in-distress being rescued by the dashing hero while battling the monster as the creature squeals, “Spa Fon!” or “Squa Tront!” But they are entertaining, especially when the “Stars Are Right” in his world.

    Hopefully, At the Mountain of Madness will stay set in the 1930s and not be updated to present-day as is rumored. It has this surreal world of yesteryear that gives it its charm.

    For fans of Lovecraft’s work, the H.P. Lovecraft Society produced a faithful adaptation of Madness (which includes dynamic sound effects) as a radio program that’s available on CD, as well as a 2005 black and white silent film of the “Call of Cthulu” on DVD, which runs 47 minutes, has lots of extras, and is quite impressive.

    A sequel to At the Mouth of Madness was written by Tim Curen entitled, “The Hive”, in which Dyer returns to the Antarctic world with a second expedition, unearthing the “Elder Things” once again and traveling via submarine into their polar icecap lair.

    Guillermo del Toro’s version of At the Mountain of Madness is slated to be released some time in 2013.
     
  9. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    FANGORIA: FRANKENSTEIN, JEKYLL & HYDE, SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, HAUNTED MANSION, TROLLHUNTERS, the new HULK TV show… With all those projects on his plate, will Guillermo del Toro have the time to write and direct his 3-D adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS? Of course! Hear what the HELLBOY director had to stay about the film’s progress after the jump.

    The Playlist spoke with del Toro about MADNESS, which is being produced by PIRANHA II’s James Cameron. “I’m rewriting and rewriting,” del Toro tells the site. “I keep rewriting, not for budgetary reasons, but for creative reasons. For me, the beauty of the book is really [that] it’s all about perspective. It’s about putting mankind in the right perspective in the cosmic scope. Lovecraft is very hard to adapt. He’s the master of ambiguity, and film is all about specificity.”

    Del Toro also has high praise for his producer. “I first talked about it with Jim Cameron 20 years ago when we first met and began our friendship, with CRONOS, when it was still in the editing room,” del Toro recalls. “He came in and he knew the project, but his fresh perspective and the right questions from him has made the project take a huge leap. He always advises and consults, and the most important thing is that he loves what I do and he respects what I do. There is no ambiguity about where the final decision rests when it comes to making this movie.”

    And the intended start date? “If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be shooting by June next year for a 2012 release,” del Toro reveals. “I’ve learned from experience that until the movie is greenlit, nothing is certain. I always joke that I’ll believe it when the Blu-ray comes out!”

    For more on del Toro, his upcoming projects and the CRONOS Criterion DVD and Blu-ray releases coming out next Tuesday, click here.
     
  10. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I find it worrisome that del Toro is reportedly straying from the narrative in the novel. He's always held Lovecraft in such high regard that it seems very out of character for him to rewrite the story in any way. I would have expected almost a straight adaptation from his pen. Let's hope that these are just rumors. I have no desire AT ALL to see "At The Mountains of Madness" twisted into a mash-up of The Thing, despite del Toro's involvement. THE STORY is what makes Lovecraft Lovecraft. Leave it alone. He of all people should know this.
     
  11. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    SWFF wrote (post #28):




    dpippel (post #30):




    I wouldn't bet the house on Hollywood allowing Mr. del Toro (or anybody else, except maybe Mr. Spielberg) to produce and release a gigantically budgeted period piece. As Dino used to say, "The kidzah wouldnah like-itah!"
     
  12. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    So, it looks like the movie is dead now. This blows, big time.

    FANGORIA: This just sucks. Yesterday, news broke that Guillermo del Toro’s AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS was going to start rolling in June with Tom Cruise as the lead. Well, now it appears that information was false. And worse, MOUNTAINS, according to del Toro, is DEAD. Sh*t!


    Del Toro responded to an email from Criterion Cast’s Ryan Gallagher about the rumored June start date. Here’s the exchange:



    RG: I’m sure everyone is e-mailing you this question today, but is this June start date for MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS true? Got your greenlight?



    Del Toro: The opposite- Dead. – G



    That just plain stinks. While it’s understandable why Universal would be hesitant to greenlight a $150-million-dollar R-rated project based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, I think every fanboy realizes what could’ve been with del Toro’s dream project. Maybe it’ll come together somewhere down the road, but for now, Deadline is reporting that Legendary Pictures is moving fast on a project del Toro likes called PACIFIC RIM, a Travis Beacham-scripted PG-13 tent pole-sized project with big monsters and the creation of a new world. Could be cool, but come on, we want MOUNTAINS!
     
  13. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    The REAL Reason AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS Was Shut Down!

    In an unusually candid interview, director Guillermo del Toro has revealed why his dream adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness fell apart, and what he's doing instead.

    Speaking with Deadline, del Toro believes that it was his insistence on making an R-rated film out of H.P. Lovecraft's classic horror novella that ultimately made the project too risky for its studio, Universal Pictures, to bet $150 million on. "It was the subject of multiple conversations all the way through December," explained del Toro about the studio's attempt to get him to change the movie to PG-13. "The definitive answer was known in December after a big meeting, when we were given the new parameters of budget and rewrites. We proceeded over the next few months to hit those parameters."

    Del Toro insisted that all the other requirements for the film, including sticking to the $150 million budget, delivering an impressive visual presentation to the studio and getting Tom Cruise to star, were in place or nearly so. "Closing Tom's deal was in their hands," said del Toro. "He was without a doubt, absolutely in favor of being in the movie. We met extensively, both in Canada and the U.S., dozens of times. Final polishes of the screenplay met with his approval. Closing the deal is not something that was in my hands. They needed to close it corporately."

    The problem for Universal, it seems, was that even with Cruise locked in and James Cameron on board as a producer for the 3D production, the bean counters determined that the movie would need to make at least $500 million to earn back its money—something possibly out of reach if teenagers could not get into the theater. "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," said del Toro. "I think the R should be worn like a badge of merit in promoting the movie. To say, this is not a gory movie, not a movie full of profanity or violence, but it's a really intense movie."

    Del Toro hopes that Universal will let him and Cameron take the project to another studio, but in the meantime he is confirmed to direct Pacific Rim, a sci-fi epic set in a future where the nations of Earth must battle a malevolent invasion. Filming for that will tentatively begin in September. As for the chances of getting At the Mountains of Madness or any potentially risky film off the ground in the future, del Toro said this about the movie industry: "What is really dramatic to me is that most decisions are now being taken by comps, and charts, and target quadrants. All these marketing things we inherited from a completely different system, in the 80s, it has taken hold of the entire industry. Marketers and accountants seem to be running things and less and less of the decisions are in the hands of filmmakers."
     
  14. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Well-Known Member

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    If they dropped Tom Cruise (who hasn't exactly been box office gold lately anyway) and went with a lesser known actor, that would shave $20 million off the budget right there.
     
  15. SWFF

    SWFF Well-Known Member

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    I am actually shocked, well, also shocked that an R-rating fucked this whole thing up, but I'm also shocked Tom Cruise was actually slated to star in it?! Horror ain't Cruise's forte, and if that happened, I have to admit that would have been some serious miscasting. Hopefully, if Del Toro and Cameron get to take this another studio, Cruise won't follow.
     
  16. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    "Marketers and accountants seem to be running things and less and less of the decisions are in the hands of filmmakers."

    I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked! . . . . . . . Just absolutely shocked!

    (Geez, where's he been for the last 25 years???)
     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  18. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  19. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Very cool Sam. I still hold out hope that someday, some way, Del Toro will be able to produce and direct this film. As far as I'm concerned he's literally the only guy right for the job.
     
  20. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Well-Known Member

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    Pacific Rim's OK but not stellar performance does not bode well for that hope.
     

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