(The following interview was provided by filmmaker Sebastián Ohaco)
"They are forced into speech because men of cinema have refused to follow their advice without knowing why."
We are talking about the half hour animated short film 'At the Mountains of Madness'. Directed by Michele Botticelli, creator of the fan favorite 'A Lovecraft Dream', among others.
Created by Cthulhu Films, an Italian production company, whose members include Carlo Ferri and Leonardo Manna.
As we already know, James Cameron and Guillermo del Toro had to cancel their adaptation, due to disagreements with Universal Studios. The project was to have a 150 million dollar budget, and was to be filmed in 3-D. Tom Cruise and Chris Pine were interested in playing the lead, but Hollywood and the times have changed. So, that version could not happen.
And now, luckily, we will be able to appreciate a new version by Cthulhu Films, which will be released internationally thanks to the participation of their associate producer, Sebastián Ohaco, an Uruguayan independent filmmaker.
Unfilmable had the chance to interview them.
Unfilmable: How did this project come about?
Michele: As a Lovecraftian moviemaker I started to create adaptations of the most famous tales we all know. The first movie I decided to do in computer graphics was Nyarlathotep, followed by Dagon. These are very old films, the beginning of my indie filmmaker career. At the Mountains of Madness was our biggest project and the last faithful adaptation of a Lovecraft tale. We worked for over a year and completed it in 2008. After that we created the more famous movie titled A Lovecraft Dream, which today is one of the most appreciated clips on YouTube about our favourite writer.
Unfilmable: Is the film loyal to the source material?
Sebastián: Well... Yes and No. You know, we cannot always compare a film with a novel. They are different worlds, they cannot be twins, and personally I don't think they have to.
We already know that we won't have the acceptance of everyone. As we know that there is no way to achieve the quality that the readers of the novel has in his mind.
For example, I have in my mind my own version of the novel, which is different to the film. What I am trying to say is that this masterpiece is purely the vision of Botticelli and his companions.
And I take my hat off to it.
Michele: Exactly, we had to choose a different pace for the movie. So we used plenty of flashback scenes having the beginning of the movie right in the middle of the novel timeline. We also have a completely different epilogue. Finally we had to scrap some ideas, like the albino penguin and a particular action sequence involving mi-gos in a prehistoric flashback.
Unfilmable: How were you introduced to Lovecraft's stories?
Michele: I discovered Lovecraft in a dusty bookshelf in my grandparents home. The first novel i read was Dagon. After that i continued to explore every corner about his conception of horror and universe itself.
Sebastián: A long time ago I saw an interesting movie, which ending quote was:
'We shall dive down through black abysses... and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory forever'.
- H.P. Lovecraft.
That deeply caught my attention.
Unfilmable: What is your favorite Lovecraft film?
Sebastián: Good question... The one we are about to release... and the ones from the HPLHS.
Michele: 'The Thing' by John Carpenter.
Unfilmable: The trailer for the film looks awesome, however it doesn't say when or where it will be released?
Sebastián: Well, thanks, but that trailer is not even the tip of the iceberg. It will be released approximately this month.
Michele: In my YouTube channel.
Unfilmable: What was it like working together from such a long distance?
Sebastián: You know... it's a complicated process. I have collaborated with other productions as well. Drunken Flesh Films, The Dreamers Factory, Lotus Film, HPLHS, etc. There are always misunderstandings and headaches. But all of them are professionals. They know very well what they are doing. And at the end: it´s always an honour and a pleasure to be part of their movies. So, this remember me of a quote from a Bob Dylan song: 'Don't criticize what you can't understand'.
Unfilmable: Is Cthulhu Films planning any future projects?
Michele: Actually I'm working on a cg animated short movie, but I don't think I will do another Lovecraftian movie. I prefer to leave Lovecraft back into my past. I have different ideas and projects in the making. Check out my YouTube channel... tough sometimes I wonder about doing a remake of my first movie (Nyarlathotep).
Unfilmable: Thank you very much! Any last words?
Michele: Shame on Hollywood for canceling ATMOM!
Sebastián: Don´t ever let somebody tell you that you cannot do something. You got a dream, you gotta protect it... What I am trying to say is... If you want something, go get it. Period.
(Thanks to Sebastián Ohaco and Michele Botticelli)