Tom Cruise Confirmed to Star in Guillermo del Toro’s AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS; Filming Begins in June [UPDATED]

     March 7, 2011


In September of last year, we reported that Guillermo del Toro wanted Tom Cruise to star in At the Mountains of Madness.  The film—which is based on the horror novella by H.P. Lovecraft and recounts a scientific expedition that uncovers ancient horrors dwelling in the mountains of Antarctica—has long been a passion project of del Toro’s and it looked like he was finally going to get it off the ground as a 3D film and with James Cameron attached as a producer.  Cruise had been circling the role as recently as last month and it looks like he’s finally on board.  Producer Don Murphy tells io9 that not only is Cruise attached to star, but filming is scheduled to begin in June.

Murphy also added that “the script is very close to the H.P. Lovecraft source material,” which I find puzzling.  Hit the jump for my thoughts on Cruise signing on and the difficulty in adapting Lovecraft’s story. [Update: The Playlist just tweeted that reps for Cruise say he's not yet confirmed for the film; Update 2: Hitfix has learned that Murphy was quoted indirectly.  The producer directly tells Hitfix, "no start date has been set AT ALL."]

Update 3: Steve here. I’ve been told that Universal killed the project on Friday and del Toro is going to take on Pacific RimRead our story here.

I recently finished reading At the Mountains of Madness and while I envisioned the lead character of William Dyer to be slightly older and more professorial, I understand the financial need to cast an international star like Cruise if del Toro hopes for Universal to bankroll a special-effects heavy R-rated horror film.  Presumably, Cruise will jump straight from Rock of Ages, which is reportedly set to shoot in May, to At the Mountains of Madness.

As to Murphy’s comment that “the script is very close to the H.P. Lovecraft source material,” I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  We already know that del Toro wrote a new character for Ron Perlman and I think that’s a great idea.  The book needs more characters if it’s going to work as a movie because the meat of the story, where Dyer and graduate student Danforth venture inside the mountains, is dialogue-free.  In fact, it’s mostly Dyer and Danforth examining paintings and charting the rise and fall of ancient creatures known as “The Elder Things”.

Reading the novella, I have no doubt that del Toro will be able to visually interpret Lovecraft’s attention to detail (I personally found it too overwhelming and had trouble picturing the “Elder Things” in my head).  But when it comes to the plot, he’ll have some work to do because a script that is “very close” to the source material is going to have some problems.


  • JLC

    Agreed about adapting the source material. Aside from the exploration of the ancient city, nothing much happens in the novella. Plus, in the finest Lovecraft tradition, you never get a really good look at what’s going on. Del Toro can obviously remedy that, but he’s really going to have to flesh out the story.

  • Jay

    He’ll have radically change the source material. There’s a short film in the novella – just about. It is entirely built on atmosphere and internal monologues and little to nothing actually happens. I mean the city is obviously hugely cinematic, but you can’t hang a movie on awesome visuals. Oh wait.

  • Jim

    One word. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Infinitemonkey

    I have no doubt as to del Toro’s direction in this bit, as a matter of fact, I have no doubt to the movie. Just do it already.

  • Jonathan

    Glad to hear Tom Cruise no longer feels the need to do comedy films/light hearted films just to counter all of these haters criticizing him for being a scientologist, taking on serious roles, etc.

    EVEN in comedy, Cuirse was very good – Tropic Thunder, Kinght and Day (underrated – it is supposed to be a trow back to those light hearted adventure/escapist films, and as that, it works very well in my opinion), and now he will be starting as Jaxx in Rock of Ages – very clever casting.

    Yes his strong conviction in converting others into scientology is weird, as so was his jumping on oprah’s couch – no doubt. But as an actor and star – very few people consistently perform as good as him. In more than 30 years staring in films, his only bad film was Lions for Lambs.

    Oliver Stone was right when he said in 1986 (in the original Wall Street commentary track) that people love to see successful people fail.

  • cuteview

    Hell yeah!

  • junierizzle

    NIce. I’m glad Cruise is in this. Say what you want about the dude but as an actor/movie star, he’s amazing.

    I haven’t read the novella. I have to admit even hearing what the book is about doesn’t excite me enough to read it. Also the comments on here aren’t getting me excited about the movie either. Nothing really happens?????I guess I have to read it to see why people love it so much.

  • Matt

    While there certainly is a lot of inner monologue and there are few characters in the novella I would hardly say that “Nothing happens.” There are plenty of scenes to flush out where I trust del Toro will work wonders. The Destruction of the camp and the disappearance of the explorers is one scene that comes to mind. I’m looking forward to this.

  • dogg

    When I heard Cruise was starring in At the Mountains of Madness I immediately though “autobiography”.

    • Elizabeth

      Exactly! He’s the first thing I think of when someone mentions “madness”.

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  • Ringbearer1420

    I hope this falls apart and they get a actor who actually works for the book. I’ll tale a Jeffery Combs over a Tom cruise any day.
    Given that HPL would eat L Ron Hubbard alive this seems more a insult than anything else.

  • bradco

    I guess there are three things in my life to count on:death, taxes, and Tom Cruise ruining screen adaptions of my favorite books. Come on Del Toro, you can do much better than Tom Cruise!

    • Ringbearer1420

      Hey someone else witha brain, cheers.

    • EasyEight

      I’d put my money on Johnny Depp being able to make this movie come to life in a blockbuster way.

  • dean

    Anyone have an idea as to when this might be released? I’m hoping somewhere around October/November time next year. If it is, It will be another reason why 2012 is turning into one of the greatest years for blockbuster films in a long time.

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  • EasyEight

    There should be enough fodder in the story since it has served as the inspiration for The Thing and its variations, and many “explorers go where man should not” type of books and movies. The Cthulhu cycle is the original X-Files with alien and occult horrors, secrets man was not meant to know, cabals and conspiracies, etc. Lots of good ideas that still hold up.

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  • Paris Michael

    We all thought that At The Mountains Of Madness was dead since del Toro and Cameron dropped it… BUT NOT!!

    At The Mountains Of Madness is now being done by director/producer team Shadow Mihai and Carrie Cain Sparks of Stella James Studios. Their company, just published an audio book version of the Lovecraft novella, narrated by Barry Schwam. They will be announcing the project this week, and a start date as well as cast will be announced August 1, 2011 on the official launch of, which is already up.

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