Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Mountains’ gets a start date? Not so fast, says producer

I’ve seen a number of sites run the story today that started at i09 that says “At The Mountains Of Madness” has an official start date of June, and that Tom Cruise is finally confirmed for the film.

The i09 story quotes Don Murphy, although in a sort of indirect way, only quoting part of a sentence from him.  So imagine my surprise when I e-mailed both Murphy and Del Toro this morning to congratulate them, only to hear back that they do not, in fact, have a start date.

Murphy’s official statement to HitFix is as follows:  “We are all trying to get Mountains up and running with Tom and Jim and everybody but no start date has been set AT ALL.”

They’ve both responded to me at this point, and it’s clear that this is not a news story yet.  They are still working very hard on the film, and I’m itching to see what they’ve been up to in the development phase of things.  Guillermo’s been cooking this one for a long time now, and having James Cameron involved, a guy who is as dedicated to the art of world-building as any filmmaker I can think of, seems really exciting, especially in a post-“Avatar” world where he’s once again proven just how reliable his commercial instincts are.

I wish this were happening in June.  And who knows?  That’s still several months away, and maybe things come together soon and dates start to fall into place.  But for now, both producer and director have emphatically and clearly explained that they do not have that start date.  This is a development project, and one that I certainly pray gets the go-ahead.

Regarding the Cruise casting, I think it’s a best-case scenario for Del Toro if it happens.  Cruise brings real movie-star muscle to the table, and he is by all accounts a strong collaborator.  When he signs on, he’s 100% on a film, and Del Toro is breaking a lot of the rules of what you’re “supposed” to do with a big giant event film if they make this thing.  It’s not like what people typically think of as horror films or big giant tentpole movies.  The various drafts of his I’ve read over the years have always been so bleak, so disturbing, so personal, and yet filled with gigantic moments that no one’s ever done onscreen, horror imagery that will be epic-scale.  And to have Cruise as your star with Cameron bringing his “Avatar” tech to the table means you’re going to get to break those rules and take the shot.  So I hope it happens.  As long as it leads to Guillermo making the film he wants to make, I’m all aboard.

Also, to be clear, i09’s Charlie Jane Anders explained the origin of their story in an e-mail to us, confident of her sourcing, and I’m sure she’ll clarify for the record as well.  I will just say that our comment above was Murphy’s on-the-record explanation to us.  We’ll have more on this when the story moves forward and until then, fingers remain firmly crossed.

UPDATED:  Deadline is also chiming in on this story, adding that Del Toro may actually be close to jumping onto “Pacific Rim,” the cloaked-in-secrecy monster movie he’s been developing with Travis “Killing On Carnival Row” Beacham over at Legendary.  You think that’s what Beacham meant when he cryptically tweeted “Soon…” recently?

All I know is I want some crazy-ass Guillermo Del Toro something, and I want it sooner rather than later.