Madness Collapses del Toro’s “Mountains”?

Well it has been a roller coaster 24 hours for fans of Guillermo del Toro and H.P. Lovecraft.

Early yesterday a report emerged at io9 that production was finally going to get underway in June on del Toro’s long-awaited dream project “At the Mountains of Madness” at Universal Pictures.

A 3D adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s atmospheric 1931 story, the action follows explorers in Antarctica who uncover the remains of highly evolved creatures neither plant or animal. Investigating a gigantic mountain range, they come upon an abandoned ancient city. Their explorations underground causes something to stir from its slumber.

Everything seemed right with the project. del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy”) was set to direct, James Cameron was to produce along with Susan Montford and Don Murphy. Even Tom Cruise was allegedly onboard to star in the film. Development has been well underway on the project for a few months now but the decision to green light the film had yet to happen.

By the end of the day though it all went to hell.

Despite a “stunning visual presentation that met the studio’s budget specifications”, Deadline reports that Universal has reportedly been balking over the $150 million budget and the R rating that ‘Mountains’ requires, so much so that the studio has now passed on giving the project the go ahead. also shot del Toro an e-mail and asked if he got a green light for ‘Mountains’. His response? “The opposite – Dead.”

Meanwhile, Legendary Pictures is moving fast on another film del Toro has expressed interest in, the Travis Beacham-scripted monster movie “Pacific Rim”. del Toro has reportedly been involved to some extent in the eight months spent in development on ‘Rim’ thus far. It’s now looking like del Toro will shoot ‘Rim’ next and may try developing ‘Mountains’ afterwards.