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Guillermo del Toro's next 'At the Mountains of Madness' attempt could be stop-motion

Guillermo del Toro's not giving up on his adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft classic.

By Matthew Jackson
Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness is still a contender for the most famous unmade movie of the 21st century, more than a decade after studio executives pulled the plug on the project during pre-production. But Del Toro still hasn't given up on his adaptation of the classic H.P. Lovecraft tale, and now he's even interested in exploring a different medium for bringing the film to life: Stop-motion animation.

Speaking to IndieWire to promote his acclaimed new stop-motion film Pinocchio, Del Toro shed light on is lifelong love of animation in general, and stop-motion in particular (his debut film was at one point going to be a stop-motion fantasy titled Omnivore), and explained that now that he's made his animated feature debut, he's ready to keep going. 

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“I want to focus on animation a lot more,” he said. “It is much more my speed.”

So, what does that mean? Del Toro isn't necessarily ready to tease other, brand-new projects in animation just yet, but he is interested in exploring what the medium might be able to do for some of his pre-existing ideas. The Oscar-winning filmmaker revealed during the interview that he has reached out to visual effects legend Phil Tippett -- who recently released his own decades-in-the-making stop-motion feature, Mad God -- about what it would look like to bring At the Mountains of Madness to life a stop-motion movie.

“I said it would be ideal to do Mountains of Madness as stop-motion,” Del Toro explained. “You watch the animation in a more rapturous way than live action. It’s almost a hypnotic act, and the relationship to the story becomes more intimate in that way.”

Del Toro famously set up a big-budget version of the story at Universal Pictures back in the early 2010s, with the legendary James Cameron on board as a producer and Tom Cruise attached to star. The project fell through over various concerns, including the budget and Del Toro's insistence that he make an R-rated version of the story. In 2021, the director revealed that he'd raised the idea of doing At the Mountains of Madness over at Netflix, but noted he'd have to scale the story down and make a "weirder" version than he might have made more than a decade ago. Lately, the director has teased that the idea is still on his mind, even sharing some test footage on social media to get fans excited once again. 

So, will Del Toro and Tippett team up to actually make this film at last? It's too soon to tell, but given how stunning Pinocchio is, a stop-motion Lovecraft piece could be the handmade horror we need.

Pinocchio arrives on Netflix Dec. 9. 

Looking for more epic fantasy in the meantime? Check out the Harry Potter film saga streaming now on Peacock.