Del Toro left The Hobbit to direct ... Van Helsing 2?

With The Hobbit now firmly behind him, director Guillermo del Toro has a stack of backlogged projects he can dive into. And one of the projects the acclaimed filmmaker is developing is a new Van Helsing movie, according to pajiba.

Now before we all scream, "He left The Hobbit for this?", let's take a closer look. The project is apparently NOT a sequel to the (let's just say it) wretched Van Helsing movie from 2004 that starred/embarrassed Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. Instead, Universal Pictures wants to take an entirely different approach to the famous vampire hunter and archenemy of Dracula, and has enlisted del Toro to write a treatment for what is described as "an action horror story."

Del Toro is also named as a producer on the movie, but there's no word yet on whether he'll write the full screenplay or sit in the director's chair. He certainly has experience with vampires, having directed Blade 2 and having co-written the epic bloodsucker novel The Strain (with two more volumes on the way). Plus his feel for the Gothic might bring some credibility back to the character.

So just like anything else the workaholic del Toro attaches himself to, this one has grabbed our interest even though it's a long way off from actually hitting the screen. The problem is that he has so much on his plate, including adaptations of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dan Simmons' Drood, H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness and possibly a new spin on The Wizard of Oz. And that's just the movies he may direct! He's also producing and/or writing a pile of other pictures, including the spy thriller Champions and the apocalyptic horror story Hater.

What would you like to see del Toro make next? Does a Van Helsing reboot sound good?

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