Guillermo del Toro's 'Mountains' in Flux, Eyeing 'Pacific Rim'

Guillermo del Toro 11-05-10
<p> LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02:&nbsp; Executive producer Guillermo del Toro arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures&#39; &quot;Splice&quot; at the Chinese Theater on June 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.</p>   |   Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Due to budgetary reasons, Guillermo del Toro may be forced to put his passion project -- his long-in-the-works adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness set up at Universal -- on hold, at least for the time being, and has another suitor,  Legendary Pictures' Pacific Rim, waiting for him in the wings.

Universal and del Toro have been for months jossling over a budget and a rating that would make the studio comfortable with making the movie. The filmmaker had a $150 million pot and was intent on making a scary R-rated monster movie. He was even scouting locations as early as last week.

But even having Tom Cruise loosely attached to star wasn't enough for Universal, whose cost-risk analysis put the project outside its comfort zone. Some sources are saying Univeral is feeling pressure from its new owners to be more fiscally prudent, though officials repping the new owners deny that any screws are being tightened.

The situation had been building to a head for a quite some time, and del Toro is not going down without a fight, exploring the option to take the project to another studio. Sources say Fox is a likely destination, since James Cameron is one of the producers and has a long association with that studio. (Other producers include Don Murphy and Susan Montford.)

Meanwhile, del Toro has no shortage of projects waiting for his attention, Pacific Rim being one of them.

Rim came on del Toro's radar late last spring, after he had left The Hobbit and was back from New Zealand. Legendary picked up the spec in June from Travis Beacham, who in 2005 wrote A Killing at Carnival Row, to which del Toro was attached to direct for a while.

Rim, which Legendary sees as a PG-13 movie, is a monster movie that sees powerful extraterrestrial force threaten the Earth's existence, with humans uniting to fight them off.

No deal hade been made on the Rim front, and Universal insiders say they would still like to see a Mountains movie -- just not at its current state.