Los Angeles California - Universal balked at Guillermo del Toro and James Cameron's much publicized mega-budget pitch for del Toro's film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness in March, and del Toro had to move on to other projects. Horror and sci-fi fans around the world were disappointed because one of the most anticipated films in years would not be made. Now the film making duo of Shadow Mihai and Carrie Cain Sparks have taken on the project through their production company Stella James Studios.
Mihai and Sparks have just released the only available professional audio book recording of At The Mountains Of Madness through their online platform sjLume.com. While working on the audio book they discussed a film adaptation of the Lovecraft classic and when the del Toro project finally collapsed, the project went to the top of their list. Lovecraft is one of the most popular sources for film adaptations, but Mountains has never been done as a movie and has long been thought unfilmable. "Lovecraft's works are phenomenally popular, but the film industry has always shied away from At The Mountains Of Madness. I think that is due to the very difficult creature effects," says Shadow Mihai. "But frankly, those are easier these days and the most challenging aspect of Lovecraft's work is story and character. So much of what he writes here is implied and it takes a lot of attention to make sure the film medium supports the original effect of the story. It's no wonder other producers are reticent to tackle it. But that is what we are about - we take on projects other people are afraid of."
The del Toro script was criticized as being a basic monster movie, albeit a big budget one. Mihai and Sparks have their own original adaptation of the Lovecraft work, with a different approach. "This is one of Lovecraft's later works, so his ideas about other-worldly creatures are well established. And since monsters plagiarized from Lovecraft are commonplace, we are approaching the work from a new angle. There will be great creature effects, but there is a really interesting story in At The Mountains Of Madness, and we are going to bring that out in a live action 3D version."
Excited that this film can break new ground in story-telling in the 3D format, Carrie Cain Sparks says, "With At The Mountains Of Madness, we can use 3D projection in a unique way. The story really lends itself to the medium, and I think 3D projection will add to the story and sense of setting, without being a distraction or a gimmick."
Del Toro had insisted on a $150 million budget for his film, which was said to be among several issues that producer Universal found hard to swallow. Mihai and Sparks are not revealing their budget, but say that their film will have similar production values to those anticipated of the del Toro work. Although the del Toro script has been in development for over 10 years, he has precious little to show fans. Mihai and Sparks have created a fun video endorsement starring Lovecraft himself, speaking via inter-dimensional travel to tell you his thoughts on the audio book and upcoming movie. It has been uploaded to the sjLume.com site for fans to download and anticipate. "The strength of At The Mountains Of Madness audio book sales will have an impact." Says Sparks, "A studio finances new productions only through sales. We are watching audience interest in the audio book closely, and we encourage those who want to see the film to buy the audio book on the website. That will help us make the movie."
At The Mountains Of Madness is among several new movies and series being announced by sjLume.com. The all-digital online movie platform developed by Stella James Studios officially launches in November, 2011. A start date and casting choices for At The Mountains Of Madness will be announced at the official launch of sjLume.com.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article can be taken to imply any relationship between NBC-Universal and Stella James Studios, or any of the participants in their various projects. In fact, Stella James Studios is confirms that NBC-Universal and its various partners or associated parties have absolutely no connection with SJS's production of Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness.