In interviews over the last decade-and-a-half, del Toro has often spoken about his affection for Lovecraft "Cthulu Mythos," a complex, horror-themed mythology that's influenced popular fiction for more than a century, including Mike Mignola's Hellboy long-running, supernatural horror-superhero mash-up that Guillermo adapted in 2004 for the big screen. Del Toro also wrote and directed the Hellboy sequel four years later (unfortunately, a third franchise entry seems unlikely). Not surprisingly, del Toro's heart has always been with Lovecracft's tales of cosmic horror, of ancient, malevolent, inter-dimensional beings who covet our world (or, more accurately, our reality) and the hapless, usually doomed protagonists who learn too much and pay for that knowledge with their sanity (or their lives).
In Lovecraft's novella, originally written in 1931 (published five years later in serialized form for Astounding Stories), an Antarctic expedition discovers non-human ruins, the massive, Himalaya-like mountains of the title. They also uncover a disturbing connection between humanity and extraterrestrial beings. The discovery, however, awakens ancient, dangerous life-forms, dubbed "Elder Things" (a.ka. "Elder Gods") by members of the expedition. As we all know, awakening ancient beings rarely, if ever, goes well. At the Mountains of Madness likely influenced John C. Campbell's 1938 science fiction/horror novella, Who Goes There?, filmed twice, first loosely in 1951 as The Thing From Another World and in 1982, more faithfully, as The Thing by John Carpenter.
Depicting those inter-dimensional beings and travels to and from their other-dimensional reality won't be cheap, but with James Cameron producer and, presumably, 3D tutor, Universal Studios, a movie studio that can use a commercial success (or two or three), will likely give del Toro the budget he'll need to fully translate Lovecraft's wildly original ideas from paper and ink to the big screen. Others have tried directly or indirectly (e.g., Dagon, In the Mouth of Madness, The Dunwich Horror), but with mostly forgettable results. If any filmmaker can make something memorable from Lovecraft's mythos, it's del Toro.
Del Toro co-wrote the screenplay with longtime Hollywood writer Matthew Robbins (Dragonslayer, The Sugarland Express), del Toro's collaborator on the forthcoming Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and the Haunted Mansion films, as well as 19997's Mimic. According to Deadline,Del Toro and Robbins are rewriting the script. Pre-production on At the Mountains of Madness will begin within weeks, with actual production expected to begin next summer.
So what do you think of del Toro's next directing gig? Good, bad, or do you really want to see Hellboy 3? Does it make up for del Toro walking away from The Hobbit?