Guillermo del Toro to shepherd the supernatural Mama

Universal is developing the horror tale Mama, a debut project from a pair of young filmmakers, and in negotiations to produce the film and mentor the filmmakers is Hellboy and Hobbit helmer Guillermo del Toro, according to The Hollywood Reporter's RiskyBusiness blog.

Andy and Barbara Muschietti are writing the English-language script based on their acclaimed Spanish-language short, Mama, with Andy directing and Barbara producing. If he climbs aboard, del Toro would be hands-on with the movie in a manner not dissimilar to his work with Juan Antonio Bayona on The Orphanage, the site reported.

The plot line is being kept under wraps, but the short centers on two girls, Victoria and Lily, who are on the run from a ghostly woman who appears to be their mother in a Gothic home not unlike the one used by Bayona in The Orphanage.

In one ending to the short (there are in fact two closing sequences), the mother is seemingly vanquished, but one of the girls is herself turned into a ghoul. Those familiar with the pitch say that, much like del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, it will contain an emotional as well as a horror element, since the girls are pursued by someone who at one time was their guardian and caretaker.

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