Monday, March 7, 2011

Howie and the Cruiser: Xenu's BFF Confirmed for Starring Role in "At The Mountains of Madness"

Leaping atop a couch, and a Lovecraft film cast list, near you.
Can we add "Lovecraftian" to "Scientologist" and "Aggressive Laugher" when we write Tom Cruise's updated bio?  Apparently we can.
Crazy Cruise's strong interest in a starring role in Guillermo del Toro's anticipated big screen adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's iconic novella "At the Mountains of Madness" (produced by some wall flower named James Cameron, who has created the top two highest grossing films of all time) has been buzzing around the web-o-sphere for a while, frightening HPL fans from Wolverton to Adelaide, and everywhere in between.  But the longer this rumor stayed above the ice, the more legs shot out from underneath.
Well, it looks like the rumors of Tom's involvement in the film are confirmed and put to rest, while the specter of the actual start date of principle photography remains very much up in the air, thanks to Hit Fix getting to the bottom of the brouhaha by directly e-mailing those actually involved, namely the director and his producer, del Toro and Don Murphy (lately of the CG-heavy spectacle "Transformers").

As this story unspooled into the ether today, an earlier article birthed on i09, and then shared (with caveats and updates) on Collider, had Cruise set to star, and the production start date slated for June of 2011.  But the Hit Fix piece pulled back on the reigns, and now, according to the above linked Hit Fix article:

Murphy's official statement to HitFix is as follows:  "We are all trying to get Mountains up and running with Tom and Jim and everybody but no start date has been set AT ALL."

So, no firm start date, but Tom Cruise is now on board the creaking ship, heading south, ever south, looking for McMurdo Sound and the impossibly high mountains rumored to lie beyond.
I go back and forth on this. This Tom Cruise Dilemma, causing such a stir down dim, poorly lit hallways of HPL fandom. 

My first reaction is always negative toward The Cruise, based partially on his acting, but mostly on his wacky personal life and full body embrace of a religion started by a middling sci-fi writer.  You don't see me accepting the Azathoth A-Okay Achievement Award in front of a throng of glassy eyed Dagon cultists.  And I read Hubbard's Battlefield Earth back in grade school, and even then thought it was a bunch of soft ball shite.  I just felt cool reading a really thick book.  Size is everything to a 6th grader.
I think someone has Cthulhu Envy
But, in the throes of trepidation that Tom Cruise is going to ruin the first chance to get Lovecraft right - in terms of scope and budget and effects up to the challenge of visually realizing cosmic horror - on the silver screen, I grudgingly recall that Cruise HAS done good to great work in various films, including "Collateral," "The Last Samurai," "Rain Man," "A Few Good Men," "Magnolia" (although he was a bit "much" in that), "The Outsiders," "War of the Worlds," etc. Hell, even "Top Gun."  AND, he would bring a level of exposure to the project that few other actors can.  And that kinda batshit, "always on" EARNESTNESS.  In plugging the film, he'd give it his Full On Cruise Control, looking the interviewer dead in the eye and making them SEE the horror and madness that awaits us all at the bottom of the world (or at least the back of his mind).
Don't blow it, White Samurai
So, I'm HESITANTLY in the pro-Cruise camp for AtMoM (**dodges hurled vegetables from the penny seats**).  I mean, if they're gonna do it BIG (Cameron's involvement assures that), may as well get a BIG "movie star" to lead the charge, who can also act a little.

Sadly, this potentially epic bit of filmmaking is under more of a threat of being creatively undone - at least in my bleary, easily dizzied eyes - by the fact that it's going to be shot and presented in 3-frickin'-D.  This gimmicky bit of retro Hollywood nonsense (Tinseltown only trusts that which has a verifiable track record these days, no matter how spotty) has hung around far longer than I expected, or than is healthy for the future of the cinema.  I don't want to have to risk nausea and vertigo when I see a film, especially for a 20 spot.

But I will for "At the Mountains of Madness."  I'm nearly beside myself, and can't wait until photography starts in earnest.  Too much pre-production has taken place.  Too many Big Names are now in the mix (yes, including T. Cruise) to pull the plug now.  But, it won't be real until that first image burns onto celluloid... 3D or otherwise.


  1. Putting the bat-shit-crazy part of his personality aside, I think Cruise is a good actor... given the right role. Is this the right role for him? I have no idea. But I know this is the right movie for del Toro! And in the end I have to trust his vision for the film. There are certain things I feel I have waited my whole life for, and seeing AtMoM on the big screen is one of those things. If the film ends up being a stinker I am not sure I will be able to handle the heartbreak. All I can do now is hold my breath and hope it will blow my f'ing mind!

  2. Based on today's news, you need a shoulder to cry on, Shane?

    I certainly do...