As fans of Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro know, one of his many passion projects that hasn’t come to fruition is an adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft story At The Mountains of Madness. The Hellboy and Nightmare Alley director has been trying to get the film off the ground for a long time, and now has offered fans just a taste of what might have been. Taking to Instagram. del Toro shared an early CGI test reel done by none other than Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic, showing off a scene from the movie and one of its bizarre monsters.
First published in 1931, Lovecraft’s story told the tale of a group of explorers from recurring location Miskatonic University who traveled to Antarctica and discovered some shocking secrets, including (naturally) some wild monsters that appear. Guillermo del Toro has been working on adapting the tale for the big screen since as early as 2006, previously setting it up at Warner Bros. Pictures, even securing James Cameron as a producer and Tom Cruise as its star. Though it failed to move forward, del Toro hasn’t given up hope on the project. While speaking with The Kingcast last year, the filmmaker was asked if his newly formed partnership with Netflix could lead to the movie finally getting made.
“Take a wild guess which were the first projects I presented,” the director said with a laugh. “I went through the cupboards and found [The Count of] Monte Cristo, [At the] Mountains of Madness. Those were a couple of the ones I presented first. The thing with Mountains is, the screenplay I co-wrote 15 years ago is not the screenplay I would do now, so I need to do a rewrite. Not only to scale it down somehow but because back then I was trying to bridge the scale of it with elements that made it somewhat be able to go through the studio machinery.”
He added, “And I think I don’t need to reconcile that anymore. I can go to a far more esoteric, weirder, smaller version of it. You know, where I can go back to some of the scenes that were left out. Some of the big set pieces I designed, for example, I have no appetite for. Like, I’ve already done this or that giant set piece. I feel like going into a weirder direction. I know a few things will stay. I know the ending we have is one of the most intriguing, weird, unsettling endings, for me.”
His reveal of this never-before-seen test footage from the movie could very well spark even more interest than the adaptation already has with fans. Del Toro’s upcoming stop-motion animated Pinocchio for Netflix premieres in theaters this week and is available on the streaming service on December 9. Further success of the movie could perhaps help give At The Mountains of Madness another extra push.