When the news was announced that Guillermo Del Toro was leaving the Hobbit due to MGM's recent financial crisis I was rather hopeful. Though I would love to see the Hobbit, I had more desire to see Del Toro committed to his other projects that he had planned for sometime. Del Toro is rather a deal maker in Hollywood, he often agrees to direct films for studios in return for them backing his own projects. For instance Paramont wasn't interested in HellBoy 2 they felt the box office returns for the first Hellboy were too slim but Universal took note of the DVD sales and backed Hellboy 2 if Del Toro would redo the Universal classic Frankenstein. IMDB listed Frankenstein as a future project for Del Toro with a 2012 release date. But Del Toro's private project that he could find no studio backing for and was going to finance himself was H. P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness. Del Toro was going to use his paycheck from the Hobbit to produce the movie, now that he has left I wondered if we would ever see Lovecraft brought to life then James Cameron stepped in. Now that Cameron is backing the film, and Cameron has to be rolling in cash, we will see Del Toro's vision of Lovecraft on film.
Personally, in my humble opinion, Del Toro is a perfect choice for a Lovecraft movie. He has a deep affection for the material and one only has to look at the creature designs in his films to see Lovecraft's inspiration. Though I would hesitantly label Del Toro as a fantasist such as in his film Pan's Labyrinth, his roots are in horror and one can look at the tentacled monstrosities that lurk in the first Hellboy film and see that Del Toro gets Lovecraftian lore. He is also a primarily a visual director keeping a sketch book of all his ideas that he wants to bring to the screen. I am actually rather envious of his sketchbooks, having tried to keep several, one can see that Del Toro has a very organized and creative mind. Some of his sketchbooks are quite stunning.
Even Del Toro's earlier films show his skill at building atmosphere and like good horror directors his films have an underlying morality to them such as The Devil's Backbone. Even Pan's Labyrinth has a layered theme to it but the theme never overshadows the visual seduction of the film. I would not say some of his films are without flaws but no one can deny there is a dark talent there that is constantly exploring and attempting to bring the unseen shapeless things that lurk at the edge of our dreams to celluloid and that is why I think he is the perfect choice to tackle Lovecraft.
Below is a clip of Del Toro on the Craig Ferguson show discussing the metro sexual vampire craze.