By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com December 3, 2010 at 2:00AM
For such a typically garrulous director, Guillermo Del Toro has been strangely quiet since leaving "The Hobbit." That's a relative term, as few can talk up their own projects with the skill that Del Toro can, and he's got a ludicrous number of them circulating, from "Frankenstein," "Jekyll & Hyde" and "Slaughterhouse Five," to Disney's "Haunted Mansion," the animation "Trollhunters" and directing and producing the pilot to the new "Hulk" TV show for Marvel.
But his next directorial effort won't be any of these: instead, it was announced in the summer that Del Toro would be making his long-time dream project, an 3D adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "At The Mountains Of Madness" for Universal, with James Cameron producing. Things have been quiet on the project, since rumors flew that James McAvoy and Tom Cruise were linked to the lead role (the former was said to be the studio's pick, the latter Del Toro's), but the director talked to Empire in their new print edition, and there's plenty of positive news.
The director reports that "I'm rewriting and rewriting... I keep rewriting, not for budgetary reasons, but for creative reasons. For me, the beauty of the book is really 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 praises his producer, Cameron, who, to his credit, has used some of his "Avatar" cachet to help Del Toro make his difficult dream project, an R-rated mega-budgeted horror. "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. 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."
But the biggest news is that it looks like Del Toro's locked in a start date -- "If everything goes according to plan, we'll be shooting by June next year for a 2012 release." While a 2011 shoot date has seemed likely for some time, it seems to be solidifying now, although the director does say "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!" But with Cameron on his side, it'll take a real disaster to stop this from going ahead.