As a man of many ideas, Guillermo del Toro’s list of unrealized projects is even longer than the films he actually got made. While still being quite prolific––releasing Nightmare Alley last year, backing Cabinet of Curiosities this fall, and his long-gestating passion project Pinocchio now in theaters ahead of a Netflix release next month––one of the major films that got away was his adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft adventure At the Mountains of Madness.
First set up at Warner Bros. back in the mid-2000s and then almost moving ahead at Universal in the early 2010s with Tom Cruise attached to star and James Cameron as the producer, the studio balked when del Toro insisted on an R-rating for the $150 million project. In recent years, he’s opened up about wanting to revisit the science fiction-horror project, which follows a fantastical, dangerous expedition to Antarctica in September 1930.
“I can go to a far more esoteric, weirder, smaller version of it,” he said last year. 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.” While he said he wouldn’t cast Tom Cruise, instead going for younger actors, he added, “I know a few things will stay. I know the ending we have is one the most intriguing, weird, unsettling endings, for me. There’s about four horror set pieces that I love in the original script. So, you know, it would be my hope. I certainly get a phone call every six months from Don Murphy going ‘Are we doing this or what? Are you doing this next or what?’ and I say ‘I have to take the time to rewrite it.'”
Now, perhaps in a bid to get some more attention on the project, he’s released a never-before-seen visual effects reel ILM produced a decade ago. In the brief clip, we can see del Toro’s ideas for creature design as an attack occurs. Here’s hoping the director can still get the resources to pull off the project.
As for Pinocchio, check out the final trailer below and read our rave review here.