Archive for the ‘H.P. Lovecraft’ Tag

del Toro Offers His Insight Into Why ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’ Feature Fell Apart. The Best He Can Anyway.   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

A few weeks ago the news hit the trades that Guillermo del Toro  ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ feature film had collapsed at Universal.  This marks the second film that the director has had problems actually beginning principal photography in just under a year. Some ten months ago he passed on directing The Hobbit due to its now-infamous production delays.  The Pan’s Labyrinth creator has opened up about just what happened with the ‘Mountains’ adaptation , saying that he will finally be behind the camera again this fall, on Pacific Rim.

With James Cameron producing, del Toro was poised to bring author H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness into a $150 million 3D film with Tom Cruise in the lead. It’s a project that should of been a no brainer for the studio, but of course the marketing department is most likely scared to death of a film like this. They really don’t see potential of this kind of material I figure. With what Guillermo has done with meager budgets and ‘out there’ material before is amazing. I was really looking forward to this film and seeing what Del Toro could do with a proper tent poll budget. Now we can only read about what could have been and hope some day that the project is resurrected by a brave studio head and Lovecraft is brought to the screen in all his glory.

Deadline sat down for a Q&A session with del Toro, in which the filmmaker admitted that he doesn’t know exactly why his Mountains of Madness collapsed:

“I haven’t had a face to face with [Universal chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chair Donna Langley] . We’ve exchanged a few phone calls. In my mind, we were given the parameters of a budget and screenplay, and I was given the chance by the studio to create a visual presentation. They were blown away by the visual presentation, they openly admitted to loving the screenplay, saying it was dead on. And we hit the target on the budget they gave us, not a figure I arrived at.

“This came after months and months of storyboarding, haggling with VFX companies, and bringing down the budget number. The week before the decision, I was scouting in the border of Canada and Alaska. We were a week away from opening offices in Toronto. We were crewed up, and frankly, I am as puzzled as most people are.”

The del Toro-produced remake of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark will finally arrive in theaters this August, and he (del Toro) describes that as being the sort of R-Rated “very intense movie [made] in a very classical mold” that he was aiming for with Mountains of Madness. An R-Rating for the Lovecraft adaptation was very much a deal-breaker for him too, according to del Toro. He seems aware that this may have contributed to the project’s termination, but points out that he’d made his feelings on the matter quite clear to studio heads:

“Ultimately, I think the MPAA could rule the movie PG-13 because the movie and the book are not gory. If that is the outcome, fine… The only thing I know about ‘Mountains’ is, I do not want it to be bloody, I do not want it to be crass, but I want it to be as intense as possible.  And those discussions were had in the open. Everyone knew this was my position, that I knew I was asking the chance for the movie to be what it needs to be. I don’t think it’s a good idea to relinquish that on paper.”

Fans of del Toro can rejoice in the news that his next directorial effort, Pacific Rim, is set to begin principal photography this September, with Legendary Pictures looking at a Summer 2013 release. While directors lips were pretty much sealed about the picture – which is officially described as being a futuristic sci-fi thriller in which Earth must defend itself against attacking creatures – he did offer the following tidbit:

“People got it confused with the ‘Godzilla’ movie a few months ago but we cleared that up. I can say the scope and imagination that have been outlined in it are absolutely appealing to me. I cannot say more, it’s not the time.”

Well I guess Pacific Rim sounds interesting, anything that del Toro directs I’m there to check out. It really is a bummer that the Lovecraft epic will have to wait till a future date. Here’s hoping sooner than later.

Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.

J.

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James Cameron Talks Producing For Guillermo del Torro, 3D and Avatar Special Edition   Leave a comment

Hey everybody,

There’s a few interesting audio interviews with James Cameron that have popped up online in the last couple days (The best one is over at Market Saw and another is at collider.com).

Both talk about 3D conversion Vs. shooting native 3D, Avatar sequels, special edition and 3D Blu-Ray possible release date. By far the coolest news is that Cameron is producing H.P. Lovecrafts Classic “At The Mountain Of Madness” for Guillermo Del Torro to shoot in Native 3D.

Director Guillermo del Torro will be best known for being the force behind The Hellboy Movies,  the second Blade film and Pan’s Labyrinth his 3rd Spanish language film( Cronos-1993, The Devil’s Backbone-2001 being the first and second ) which somewhat reinvented the horror/fantasy genre story for American audiences. He most recently left the Peter Jackson produced Hobbit film after being in pre production for almost a year without any sight of a Green-light to shoot due to MGM’s financial trouble as of late.

Cameron says he recently got together with del Torro and asked him if he still wanted to do H.P.Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness”? ( a long “passion project” for Guillermo)

He said, clearly excited “of course”, and the two took it to Universal with  Cameron to produce, del Torro to direct and to be shot in Native 3D using the latest FUSION cameras from Pace. The studio response was to put it on the fast track to start shooting in the 2nd quarter of 2011.

Cameron goes on and the “shooting Native 3D vs. Conversion from 2D” argument comes up  and he say “the whole argument about conversion for high end, first run 3D Two years from now when there are thousands of 3D cameras out their shooting live feeds to 3D broadcast networks, how can a producer go to a studio and say: “I can’t shoot 3D. It’s too difficult. There are too many problems. It costs too much. It adds 6 months to post-production. They won’t be able to say any of that stuff. That stuff is all garbage.”

Cameron talking about Avatar sequel status says he has an overall story arc for two and three, but that even a script for two will be a ways out yet. He’s focusing right now on the novel of the first film, which he is actually writing himself in the next few months.

Inevitably when a movie has grossed  $749,766,139 in the US, $1,990,639,582 Internationally with a total combined worldwide box office gross of $2,740,405,721( that’s somewhat close to 3 BILLION as of August 12 2010. WOW!), you expect a few sequels to be imminent, especially when Fox is involved. While we won’t be seeing any Avatar sequels in the next 3 years, on August 27th Fox is cashing in on Avatar Special Edition . MoneyMoneyMoneyMoneyMoney MoneyMoneyMoneyMoneyMoneyMoneyMoneyMoney…

Cameron says it will have 9 extra minutes not 8, and it will all be CG. No extra footage of live action characters drinking coffee. Some rainforest scenes at night, a hunt sequence, a lot of flying all with high impact action. An emotional scene toward the end has been added back, “the best CG in the film has been added as far as facial performance”. More footage added,  a Na’vi counter effort after the bulldozer attack, more of Grace at the school, adding the Stingbat and Sturmbeast creatures, additional Quaritch final AMP Suit battle shots, more of the glade love scene, all back in. It is all on par with the best of the rest of the film. They had lots of footage to choose from and they put back the absolute best scenes and shots they could.

Before Cameron gets pulled away he says he doesn’t have a date for the 3D Blu-ray yet. They want to have a nice distribution of 3DTVs in homes before release. He has seen the 3D master run on consumer 3DTVs from Panasonic and Samsung and his comment is “It looks amazing. It looks really spectacular.”

What ever you think of James Cameron you can’t deny his power as a visionary director and filmmaker. For you ” Cameron haters” out there,  COME ON his lists of credits,  just as a director is crazy…

  1. Xenogensis (1978) (first short film)
  2. Piranha Part Two:The Spawning (1981)
  3. The Terminator (1984)
  4. This Time Is War (1985) (effect short doc made during aliens pre-production)
  5. Aliens (1986)
  6. Reach (1988) TV
  7. The Abyss (1989)
  8. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  9. T2 3-D Battle Across Time (1996)-theme ride at Universal Studios
  10. True Lies (1994)
  11. Titanic (1997)
  12. Earthship. TV (2001) TV
  13. Dark Angel (episode 1, Freak Nation 2002)
  14. Expedition: Bismarck (2002) TV
  15. Ghosts Of The Abyss (2003) (IMAX 3D)
  16. Aliens From The Deep (2006)
  17. Avatar (2009)
  18. Avatar: Special Edition (2010)
  19. Battle Angel (2013) (in pre-production)

Now I’m figuring there is something on that list that everyone can enjoy on some level. That being said, I can’t  stand Titanic, clunky dialog, the worst racial stereo types and cardboard characters But…

The Terminator plays far better than the McG latest piece of shit, and made for only $10 million in 1984. Arnold’s presence is menacing with no CG, Michael Beihn’s Reese rules and Stan Winston’s make-up and effects are pure magic.

Aliens is unarguably an action classic, but it has been argued it may be better than the original (even though I am a huge fan of Aliens, the Ridley Scott original is untouchable to me so far). I still love what Cameron does with the Marine characters and the possibility of future technology. The action kicks ass on today’s movies with no CG the entire film and you really care when people start getting killed left and right by the aliens, in a Fox action sequel no less (who would have thought?)

The director’s cut of The Abyss is great as well. It’s one of his highly overlooked films, especially if you’ve only seen the theater cut. The director’s cut plays longer, but far better.

T2 is one of the first good long format uses of CG, and as any good action sequel should,  it ups the anti in the action while turning the previous story on it’s ear. Arnold again is superb as the T-800, a timeless action sci-fi film.

And of course True Lies. I missed seeing this Arnold (1994) for the last 10 years of his acting career before his Governor days. On re-watching this I was surprised how must I enjoys it. Even Tom Arnold is great. Cameron seems to bring out the best in his actors with top notch technical execution. You are never board and are always laughing. Real, Big, Stupid, Fun.

I really enjoyed Avatar. The 3D was part of the story telling medium without question. The only time I’ve been impressed so far with any 3D as part of a film. I like the classical pacing,editing and story telling as well. I can understand peoples criticism that they though it was too long I guess. If I don’t look at my watch once in a two hour and forty two minute movie I’m pretty engaged.  In three viewings in 3D I was still entertained. I would say It was as long as the story had to be. Can’t wait to see what Cameron has in store for us with Battle Angel.

I think the fact that James Cameron is using his sway and reputation as a “Cash Cow/Genius” to help his friend Guillermo del Torro make him long gesturing passion project “At The Mountains Of Madness” is F#@KING AWESOME. No studio would have touched it being the inaccessibility and scope of H.P. Lovecrafts source material, but with Cameron’s as producer on the project it gets fast tracked. That’s what attaining a certain professional level in the entertainment industry is all about, the fact that you can help other artists and friends achieve there dreams and goals. This film is now close to the top of my “Must See” list.  I hope it makes it to the production.

Stay Tuned. More To Come Soon…

J.