After three months of deliberation, Universal Pictures, the studio that gave del Toro money for pre-production creature designs, has remained unwilling to give the director a greenlight, citing concerns over the film’s budget and likely R rating. On Monday, del Toro withdrew from the negotiations, and that night at ten-thirty he sent me a short, mournful e-mail:
Madness has gone dark. The ‘R’ did us in.
Del Toro had told me that he would not compromise on the film’s rating, even though a film rated PG-13 would have a much easier time attracting a mass audience. “Madness,” as he imagined it, would not be particularly gory, but he insisted that he needed the artistic freedom “to make it really, really uncomfortable and nasty.” Del Toro had hoped that a greenlight for “Madness” would mark a new golden age for horror films: