Exclusive: Universal Looking at James McAvoy to Star in AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, but Guillermo Del Toro Wants Tom Cruise

by     Posted 4 years, 50 days ago

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In July, we reported the exciting news that Guillermo del Toro would finally be making his long-in-development passion project At the Mountains of Madness with James Cameron producing and in 3D.  Sources have now told us that Universal wants James McAvoy to play the lead in the film, but del Toro wants Tom Cruise to star.  Chris Pine’s name was also being tossed around, but his busy schedule may be too packed.

We know that Cruise and del Toro probably met before when discussing the possibility of a new take on Van Helsing with Cruise to star and del Toro producing.  That didn’t work out, but del Toro must have left with a positive impression of the actor.  Hit the jump for a synopsis of At the Mountains of Madness and for a refresher on what both Cruise and McAvoy have on their plates.

at_the_mountains_of_madness_book_coverHere’s a brief synopsis of Lovecraft’s novella:

The story is written in first-person perspective by the geologist William Dyer, a professor from Miskatonic University. He writes to disclose hitherto unknown and closely kept secrets in the hope that he can deter a planned and much publicized scientific expedition to Antarctica. On a previous expedition there, a party of scholars from Miskatonic University, led by Dyer, discovered fantastic and horrific ruins and a dangerous secret beyond a range of mountains taller than the Himalayas. [Wikipedia]

When Steve spoke to del Toro at the Saturn Awards in June, the award-winning director said it was unlikely that At the Mountains of Madness would be his next project due to various factors.  Thankfully, those obstacles were overcome and production on the film (which will be shot in 3D) is set to begin in May 2011.

McAvoy is about to start filming on Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class where he’ll play the young Professor Charles Xavier (aka Professor X).  He’s also attached to co-star in Tom Tykwer’s adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas.

As for Cruise, he starts shooting on the fourth Mission: Impossible in October.  He’s also planning to star in a Tropic Thunder-spinoff movie about uber-mogul Les Grossman.

With filming not scheduled to begin for almost a year, there’s plenty of time to get casting sorted out.  While it’s not unusual for actors to attach and detach from projects, McAvoy and Cruise are the names we’re hearing connected to At the Mountains of Madness at this time.




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  • Chevguy83

    Tom Cruise really impressed Stanley Kubrick and we all saw how well that went.

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  • Paul

    I can’t tell if that’s a negative or positive to Eyes Wide Shut? Cause if its a negative about Guillermo Del Toro dying than shouldn’t we also be out of directors like Michael Mann, John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Cameron Crowe, Bryan Singer, and Edward Zwick (though Zwick would not be missed)? So that points mute. And Eyes Wide Shut was a great film. So….positive?

    Anywho, if Del Toro wants Cruise than let him have him. This is not going to the dark Lovecraftian horror we originally were promised but a 3 hour (I can just see it being made that long… at least 160 minutes) action fest with tentacles.

  • Paul

    I can’t tell if that’s a negative or positive to Eyes Wide Shut? Cause if its a negative about Guillermo Del Toro dying than shouldn’t we also be out of directors like Michael Mann, John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Cameron Crowe, Bryan Singer, and Edward Zwick (though Zwick would not be missed)? So that points mute. And Eyes Wide Shut was a great film. So….positive?

    Anywho, if Del Toro wants Cruise than let him have him. This is not going to the dark Lovecraftian horror we originally were promised but a 3 hour (I can just see it being made that long… at least 160 minutes) action fest with tentacles.

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  • Lara

    I’ve had enough of Tom Cruise, I still can’t get off my head the picture of him jumping on Oprah’s couch. If they go for McAvoy with this I’ll watch it, otherwise.. thanks but I’ll pass.

  • Ringbearer1420

    Wow, just wow, the most unlovecraftian actors ever, I’m surprised he’s not considering Shia LeBeouf, disappointing as their are some many actors who would work.
    In fact you’d have to try to find some one who doesn’t work.
    Cillian Murphy, Kyle McGlachlan, Danial Craig, Johnny Depp, Adrian Brody, are just a few off the top of my head.
    Their are so many actors who deserve the exposure this project would give them, while McAvoy is hugely overexposed, and well Tom Cruise…
    I think the Del Toro star is the decline unless he hopefully gets neither of the actors and is forced to cast some one decent.
    I’d rather buy a coffee and re-read the book than pay to see my least favorite actors tear it apart.

  • Chevguy83

    Eyes Wide Shut was a deeply flawed movie with visually stunning moments. Tom Cruise seemed as lost in the film as he did in Legend, not an easy feat.

  • Cris A

    This is the funniest comment ever. You say that McAvoy is “hugely overexposed” and then suggests…Johnny Depp?!
    And how is McAvoy overexposed? His last big film was WANTED in 2008! He then did a great film, but too arthouse for the general audience, “The Last Station”, and probably will have a film by the end of this year, again arthouse material, “The Conspirator”. I wonder in which world an actor who does one film a year is considered overexposed.

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  • Christophercantos

    you people act as if Tom Cruise starring in this would automatically make this film bad.. or full of action like some sort of summer blockbuster gone wrong. but come on, it’s Del Toro. have faith in the man. plus, isn’t it much interesting if he cast Cruise in a role unlikely to his usual movies? if they make a great film out of this then the accomplishment would be huge.

    and remember Magnolia? i don’t think that was a “action fest with tentacles”. have faith on the man. he may have been in some bad movies. but in Magnolia, he was great actor

  • Trick

    seriously, McAvoy?? over exposed???

    nawww he hasnt been in nearly as many mainstream movies as the actors you listed
    cmon now!
    Daniel Craig?? the new face of JAMES BOND??
    Johnny Depp?? the guy hiding in barrels during Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland?

  • http://twitter.com/cablebfg Bill Graham

    I like Cruise, period. And I love GDT. I am actually surprised he liked Cruise that much though. Interesting.

  • Ringbearer1420

    Hey I liked McAvoy in Shameless and Narnia. But Prof X? I mean he’s being put in roles he doesn’t fit in.
    An insofar a Depp, I suggested him because of his association with Tim Burton films AND as I said I was simple thinking off the top of my head of actors who are better suited to journey into Lovecrafts world, and besides, mans been working for how many decades in Hollywood before he became a box office draw? It took him 20 years! He earned the exposure.
    H.P. Lovecraft deserves his work to be shown to a huge audience and I don’t want it mucked up. Some one Viggo Mortensen, Cillian Murphy, etc I can see existing in that awful world, but McAvoy or Cruise would make you very conscience you were watching a movie.

  • Ringbearer1420

    I was listing actors who could actually play some one from the BOOK.
    Did you read the book? How much lovecraft have you read?
    Because all those actors i pictured in moment of bloodshot eye horror, wondering weather they should kill themselves or continue living in a world with unspeakable horror. I was listing actors with the range to pull it off.
    When I said over exposure I meant actors who are put into roles bassed of how in they are at the moment and not weather their actually good for the role.
    And I said they were specifically of the top of my head to show how pathetic the choices of a actually director are. Del Toro had amazing cast for his Spanish films, and a very solid cast in Hellboy, Crusie and McAvoy just aren’t in keeping with the caliber of actor he’s worked with.

  • Ringbearer1420

    Read “At The Mountains of Madness” before you jump to the conclusion that Cruise would be any good in it.

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  • Anonymous

    If the choices are McAvoy and Cruise…hmmmmm I’ll take Cruise!

    That’s like trying to pick between KOBE Bryant and Kevin Durant to play in the Finals.

  • Anonymous

    Tom Cruise all the way!!

  • Stephen

    It’s no good getting all snotty and climbing onto hobby horses about rumoured casting preferences, least of all at this stage of a movie. As I’m sure we’re all aware the person a director may start out preferring for his epic is very often NOT the one he ends up casting–for all sorts of different reasons.

    Anyhow, for better or for worse, at the moment it’s Del Toro’s movie, not ours. He’s making it, not us. If he stuffs it up, whether because he made bad casting choices or otherwise, we should at least give him the benefit of the doubt and wait until the movie comes out before hauling out the tar and feathers. Who knows? The actor he chooses may turn out better than our prejudices expected.

    By the way, I’d always envisaged William Dyer as being an older sort, no younger than his late forties. (I notice Wikipedia estimates his age at the time of the expedition as being about 55.) That would seem to fit the profile of Tom Cruise (currently 48) better than James McAvoy (31); and even Cruise would be a little on the youngish side.

  • Christophercantos

    okay. i admit. i havent read the book(and have no plans to read it because i don’t want to be spoiled by any kind on the movie.) but why don’t we just give Cruise a chance. if Del Toro thinks that he is capable in the lead, then why don’t we just trust Del Toro.

    and the fact that Del Toro wants Cruise. and not just because he IS Tom Cruise(i mean, the studio itself is the one who wants a less profile actor) means that he wants Cruise for REAL and not just because it will make more money if he choose sCruise(say what you want about his recent box-office slump, but he is still TOM CRUISE)

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  • Gusninja

    What? Are you suggesting that DtD star and sci fi cliche Ron Perlman and that hacktress Selma Blair are bigger caliber than Cruise and McAvoy? Lol. No, seriously, I get Hellboy fanboyism but to even suggest that perlman and Blair are better actors is proposterous. And ridiculous.

  • sm

    You lost all credibility with the Professor X comment,” he’s being put in roles he doesn’t fit in”. Have you seen the movie? How do you know? Based on your assumption, it is obvious you are biased against McAvoy. He did Narnia and Shameless 6 years ago, you obviously are unfamiliar with his present filmography.

  • sm

    You lost all credibility with the Professor X comment,” he’s being put in roles he doesn’t fit in”. Have you seen the movie? How do you know? Based on your assumption, it is obvious you are biased against McAvoy. He did Narnia and Shameless 6 years ago, you obviously are unfamiliar with his present filmography.

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  • Anonymous

    I can only guess you haven’t seen McAvoy in “The Last King of Scotland” or “Rory O’Shea was Here.” Surely your opinion of him would be different if you had.

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  • Ringbearer1420

    Hey I actually talk to people in the real world, and I yet to see someone not make a sour face when I’ve told them that. You’ll find in the real world people opinions are a little different than on the internets.

  • Ringbearer1420

    … I see the problem, I read. What I was saying was those cast fit, if you read Hellboy, or anything, maybe start with the back of a cereal box, you might get that Ron Perlman and Selma Blair fit their roles, and yeah Ron Pearlman is a better actor than those other two. Now I remember why I don’t engage with people online anymore because your all reactionary people who aren’t trying to engage or discuss but try to find little nitpick or you just don’t grasp what the other person said in the slightest.

  • sm

    In the real world not one person has seen James McAvoy as Professor X. Opinion is different from fact. When the movie comes out, than you can give your opinion based on fact, until then it is purely speculation.

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  • Fireclown

    Lovecraft protagonists are not supposed to be great looking guys.

  • http://twitter.com/v_bobok Vadim Bobkovsky

    No make-up for Cruise. He will fit.

  • http://twitter.com/v_bobok Vadim Bobkovsky

    No make-up for Cruise. He will fit.

  • http://twitter.com/aeghast [A]

    “but Guillermo Del Toro Wants Tom Cruise” –WHAAAAAAAAAAAAA?!?!

  • http://twitter.com/aeghast [A]

    ..are they supposed to be crazy midgets?

  • Ringbearer1420

    Thats a silly thing to say that you don’t want a movies bassed on a book to be spoiled by the actual story. You owe it to your self to not be ignorant of reading and literature, and it’s not going to hurt you to read it. Their amazingly atmospheric stories and rather short, mountains of madness is the cumulative of many themas in his other stories so you should really find a short story collection and check it out.

  • Avcpl

    Considering he was playing someone metaphorically lost, I guess he nailed it?

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  • Manny

    This is a fools errand. Del Toro hasn’t come CLOSE to the madness and horror required for this Lovecraft story. That he’s actually thinking of putting Cruise in it, just confirms how disappointing this film will be.

    Oh well, it will still have cool images I guess. I say go for hollywood star all the way, Tom Cruise or some other big time star, like Depp or Dicaprio.

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  • Mikescott

    McAvoy please. I love him.

  • Mj_882

    Agreed with Avcpl

  • Jay

    Get over it..honestly

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  • Maaggun

    I dearly love ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ and Del Toro’s work. Tom Cruise is a whack job! Unfortunately, if he is in this movie, I refuse to see it. I know that there are many that feel the same way. Why choose Cruise? Is it because his wife is in Del Toro’s new flick?

  • Lara

    mmm a really mature and well thought answer. No wait..pathetic

  • Chrisbeffa

    Regarding Chevguy’s post: Yeah they made the BRILLIANT, “Eyes Wide Shut.”

  • Chrisbeffa

    Regarding Chevguy’s post: Yeah they made the BRILLIANT, “Eyes Wide Shut.”

  • Chris

    Mature, you’re boycotting an actors films based solely off his jumping on a couch professing his love for his wife and you’re talking about maturity!?? Seriously, get over it. He’s a little too energetic and excitable, sure, but he’s also clearly an extremely nice guy.

  • Chris

    Wack job because he is a Scientologist? If that’s your argument than I agree. But then again, if you’re Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, than you’re also a wack job, and a hypocrite to boot which in my mind is far worse…

  • MIEDJHA

    Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. But more importantly, the performances are key, and an actor playing a Lovecraft protagonist really needs to be able to portray all the various little stages in their descent into madness, and pull it off convincingly. Tom Cruise is just about the epitome of an average actor. This isn’t a deal breaker, but jeez…a good compromise would perhaps be Viggo Mortensen. Edward Norton. Or find someone new!

  • Callie

    As a Lovecraft fan from childhood when I both avidly read his stories and played Shadow of the Comet and Prisoner of ice, I couldn’t have been more excited to hear del Toro was going to direct an adaptation of At The Mountains of Madness.

    Until I heard this terrible news about Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise is an actor whose involvement I base my decision /not/ to see a film upon. With flat and redundant acting and a personal life that is, frankly, repugnant, as he seeks to draw the gullible into a massive pyramid scheme, the only thing Tom Cruise ever “cruised” by on was his good looks. (Yes, I think even his famous turn in A Few Good Men was pretty bad compared to some of the stage performances I’ve seen of it.)

    James McAvoy is a fantastic actor who will be able to add range and sensitivity to the role instead of just plastering pretty onto it. I hope the studio makes the right decision and gives the role to him.

  • Bolo

    I remember the same criticisms about Cruise when he was cast in Interview With the Vampire, and he ended up doing some great work.
    And to say that Del Toro’s star is in decline is simply stupid.What other directoir can make a fun action movie like Hellboy 2 then turn out something like Pan’s Labyrinth?
    Color me interested.

  • Lara

    Yes, exactly there’s this whole ‘conspiracy’ to boycot Mr Cruise. I just won’t watch the films he’s in because I don’t want to spend MY money and time on them, that’s my personal opinion, is it so hard to understand? You do whatever you want with your money sir, it’s not really my business nor do I care.

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  • Anonymous

    I don’t really understand how one can potentially have the choice between James McAvoy and Tom Cruise and wants the latter. Del Toro, use your head, man!

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  • redpagan

    Ed Norton or Gary Oldman.

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  • cthulhu

    Actually, I have read all the lovecraft short stories, have cthulhu as a pet, played the fantasy flight games, collected the comics, bought Michael Komarck’s incredible looking artwork; do I really need to go on? And Ringbearer1420 is dead wrong. Cruise would be great in any part he was cast in. I have been a huge fan of Del Toro since Cronos and would trust that he would bring out the best in Cruise.
    Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!

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  • Indi

    James McAvoy is brilliant and has great range as an actor. I have watched most of his films and BBC TV series, and have even had the opportunity to see him in a stage play in London. The reason he is cast in so many different roles is because he is very versatile and has good instincts and intelligence to adapt to the roles he is given. I also had the chance to meet him and while waiting for my turn to get his autograph, quietly observed the way he handled himself with the fans and his fellow stage actors. I was impressed by his charm, energy, good manners, and sensitivity. Put it this way, I like Tom Cruise, but I totally love James McAvoy.

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  • Quickfire81

    Not Cruise, I know that they have to Hollywood the Lovecraft story up but please not Tom Cruise! Lovecraft is a favorite and his heroes where never the strapping leading man but scientific researchers. Del Toro if you muck this all up – Cthulhu will come for you!

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  • Megamoviebuff1989

    I hope Tom Cruise doesn’t get cast. I hate Tom Cruise, he’s a terrible, Terrible actor! if they have to go with James McAvoy then do so.

  • Megamoviebuff1989

    I hope Tom Cruise doesn’t get cast. I hate Tom Cruise, he’s a terrible, Terrible actor! if they have to go with James McAvoy then do so.

  • uncle thorny

    GDT your imagination is writing cheques your chosen actor can’t cash

  • uncle thorny

    GDT your imagination is writing cheques your chosen actor can’t cash

  • Chris

    I’m really looking forward to Del Torro’s take on ATMOM. As a serious Lovecraft devotee it’s the most exciting film news since Lord of The Rings.

    If Del Toro wants Cruise I’m prepared to defer to his expertise, after all it’s Del Toros project.

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  • Atredies

    I don’t like Cruise but I love “Lovecraft and the ‘Mountains of Madness”. Cruise will attract some `weight` (good actors, spending money, writers etc ) with him so Cruise’s involvement is although it seems counter-intuitive a positive development.

    Credit where it’s due-he has been good in some serious roles: `….fourth of July` `Interview with the Vampire` and was tolerable in `Mission Impossible I`.

    This could be a great movie (think `Alien` `Blade Runner`) but a `Hell boy 2` Director-I am scared…….

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  • Teru

    Tom Cruise? I do not see it. I do not feel it.

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