Dejan Ognjanovic at Temple of the Ghoul has his hands on the script for del Toro’s forthcoming movie adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness, written by Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins. The first-act script-structure was ‘revealed’ by Latino Review in 2007 (although that could have been a hoax — certainly no-one reputable seems to have followed up on it). I’d imagine there are also several radically different versions of the script now floating around, as often happens for major Hollywood movies — some of these possibly being old and/or prototype scripts that were rejected and that won’t be filmed? Anyway, this is the gist of what Dejan writes:—
“It’s not as bleak as Lovecraft’s novel [...]. story takes place in 1939, at the very beginning of World War 2 [...]. Those who expect a certain meaning and symbolism [...] cosmic horror – loads of atmosphere, suspense, build-up… Well, not much of that, sadly [...] This script takes Lovecraft’s concept of Shoggoths – large blobs of intelligent protoplasm which can assume any shape (including human) – and runs with it to lengths that Lovecraft never bothered with [and] the bigger picture they belong to is paid just a brief lip service, in a couple of lines of dialogue you might just miss while checking your text messages. [...] The Old Ones have very little to do [and at] the very end there is (yet another) appearance of Cthulhu itself! [...] very little subtlety preserved [...] More action, action and action than in the entire Lovecraft’s opus. [… There’s relatively little stress on atmosphere. [...] Very little space for poetry and weird, alien beauty of the landscape [...] Don’t expect a long and complex retelling of the history of the Old Ones [...] The section from the novel when the expedition goes deep, deep, insanely deep into the bowels of the Mountains of Madness is entirely gone. [...] The submerged city in the deep caverns, too. None of that here. And very little exploring of the city above, as well. It seems like they discover the bas-reliefs with the Old Ones’ history in the first building they come across, and that’s it.”
How very disappointing. I really hope that what sounds like a dumbed-down rehash of “Alien vs. Predator meets The Thing” isn’t the script they’re going to shoot. Yet, if it is, why did del Toro encounter such resistance from the Hollywood execs to filming it? It sounds like just the sort of thing that the mouth-breathing idiots in cinema audiences will lap up. Although perhaps we shouldn’t underestimate how dumb movie studio executives can be.
I suspect that Ognjanovic has an old script — since, at the 2010 Comic-Con in Summer 2010, del Toro went into detail about his work on the script with Matthew Robbins — he’s on record as saying…
“We are rewriting slightly the screenplay we’ve had for 12 years,” he told MTV News. “Matthew and I believe that a screenplay like that you have to tackle again every so often. We tackled it last about two years ago, [when] Matt and I felt like we needed to rewrite some stuff. Matt is my greatest writing partner because we keep updating anything we haven’t shot, we keep saying, ‘Let’s do another rewrite.’ So we’re going to do another rewrite in the next couple months.’ [because] “There [are] movies that have come out that have done things that are similar to some of the stuff we were trying,” he further explained.