Tom Cruise still wants to star in director Guillermo del Toro's planned epic adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's classic novella At the Mountains of Madness, even though the movie doesn't have an official green light yet.
It was revealed earlier this week in a major profile on Del Toro in The New Yorker that the filmmaker still does not have the go-ahead from Universal Pictures to begin shooting the project, which he envisions as a dark, R-rated horror tentpole, and there's been little word on whether Cruise, Del Toro's preferred star for the lead, has signed on for the film or even been approached.
But James Cameron, who's producing the movie, told MTV News that Cruise is still in the mix. "Tom does want to do the picture," Cameron said. "I don't think we have a deal with him yet, but we're hoping to get that closed soon. Guillermo is madly working on a new draft of the script. Hopefully we'll be shooting by June or July."
Universal was reportedly interested in having James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) star in the film, and it's not clear whether the studio will stand firm on that or let Del Toro cast whoever he wants. The director has been working on revising the screenplay—which he first started 12 years ago—since last summer with writing partner Matthew Robbins. The main reason for the holdup in production appears to be money issues, with Universal capping the movie's budget at $125 million.
At the Mountains of Madness has long been a dream project for both Del Toro and his fans, and Cruise or not, the director says he won't make the movie if he can't do it the way he sees it, which means he needs "the freedom to make it really, really uncomfortable and nasty." He adds, "I don't want to make a movie called At the Mountains of Madness. I want to make this movie. And if I cannot make this movie I'll do something else."