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Guillermo del Toro will Make ‘Crimson Peak’ Next, Still Hope for ‘At the Mountains of Madness’

He's hard at work on post-production for next summer's Pacific Rim, but Guillermo del Toro is always thinking about his next project — and never afraid to talk about it, either. So while this could change at any point over the next year, it seems that the esteemed Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth director will make haunted house story Crimson Peak his next film.

Crimson Peak, according to what del Toro tells Deadline, is "a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story. It will allow me to play with the conventions of the genre I know and love, and at the same time subvert the old rules."

The film will require a bit more resources than usually given to haunted house films, or so it appears. Del Toro seems intent to honor his favorite haunted house films, which he goes on to describe:

“To me that is Robert Wise’s The Haunting, which was a big movie, beautifully directed, with the house built magnificently. And the other grand daddy is Jack Clayton’s The Innocents. I’ve always tried to make big-sized horror movies like the ones I grew up watching ... Films like The Omen, The Exorcist and The Shining, the latter of which is another Mount Everest of the haunted house movie. I loved the way that Kubrick had such control over the big sets he used, and how much big production value there was. I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted this to feel like a throwback.”

The film will be made through Legendary Pictures and likely distributed by Warner Bros. per their deal with the company, just as Pacific Rim will be this coming July. Del Toro has frequently raved about his experience working with Legendary on Pacific Rim and it appears this project came about from that mutual admiration.

Del Toro gives us an entire synopsis of the development timeline for Crimson Peak leading up to this announcement:

“It was the first one I wrote after Pan's Labyrinth, and I sold it to Donna Langley at Universal. She loved it, I was going to direct it, and then Hellboy II happened, and then I was off to New Zealand for The Hobbit. Donna suggested I move aside and produce it. It went out to directors, but I didn’t quite like anyone for it. Finally I went through the experience of Pacific Rim with Warner Bros and Legendary, and it was the best experience I have ever had making a movie, period. I had a really good working relationship with Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, and they asked what I wanted to do next. I sent them At the Mountains of Madness, I sent them [The Count of] Monte Cristo, another project I’ve tried to do for 20 years. I also sent Crimson Peak, but didn’t expect a reaction because it’s not a typical Legendary movie. Much to my surprise, Thomas Tull called 9:30 at night on the day I sent it and said, ‘I don’t know how it ends, but I am on page 45 and I love it.’ Next day, Jon Jashni called and said we think it’s the best project for us, just the right size.”

Crimson Peak, written initially by del Toro and Matthew Robbins, will get a rewrite from Lucinda Coxon (The Heart of Me) and likely enter production in early 2014 after Del Toro completes Pacific Rim and fulfills his commitment to make the pilot of The Strain for FX, an adaptation of his vampire novels co-written with Chuck Hogan. What this means for his 3D stop-motion retelling of Pinocchio, believed at one point to shoot this summer, is anyone's guess.

Del Toro also went on to say that this relationship with Legendary could end up (eventually) bringing one of his most prized passion projects (all of his projects are passion projects), At the Mountains of Madness out of development hell.

As GDT fans know, Mountains, based on the H.P. Lovecraft novel, was going to be del Toro's next big film until Universal pulled the plug, resulting in him getting quickly into Pacific Rim. It was going to star Tom Cruise and feature 3D effects supervision from James Cameron. Then when Prometheus came out this summer, del Toro said the similarities between Ridley Scott's Alien prequel story and Mountains were too great that he wasn't sure it would ever be made. Now, he appears hopeful:

“[Tull and Jashni] love [Mountains], but we just finished Pacific Rim ... They want to let that film happen and then my hope is, down the line we can do it."

Pacific Rim opens July 12. If it scores big at the box office, the At the Mountains of Madness conversation can truly begin again.


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