Universal and NBC have struck a deal to create a dramatic TV pilot based on the 2004 summer thriller VAN HELSING. Entitled TRANSYLVANIA, the show will not be a spinoff or sequel, but will take place in the same universe as the feature. This deal is the first between NBC and Universal since negotiations by GE to purchase Universal from Vivendi began. The films director Stephen Sommers (THE MUMMY) first came up with the idea for the TV series over a year ago when he was hired to direct the feature.
"I didn't want to stop imagining storylines and characters for this world when I finished writing and directing VAN HELSING," said Sommers. "The source material is too rich and the basic narrative too promising to wait for further installments of the film series. A weekly series that introduces new characters, conflicts and creatures seemed like an invigorating way to continue my creative commitment to this project, and I'm so happy that Universal and NBC have provided the platform for doing just that."
"Steve flourishes when given free artistic license and a big, blank canvas on which to express his ideas," said Universal vice chairman Marc Shmuger. "The basic conceit of the VAN HELSING universe is so compelling that we know that Steve and his team won't be limited to what can be contained in the film franchise. Transylvania is a place that exists in all of our collective literary and cinematic memories, so to explore its secrets and frights in a television series with real production value and Steve's creative signature was an idea we wanted to give life, even before VAN HELSING is completed."
"Stephen Sommers has designed this series as a brilliant brand extension of the VAN HELSING film franchise. He has an amazing grasp of the ingredients required for long-term success in a television series. The show is conceived as a vehicle for characters and Sommers has populated it with a vibrant conflict-filled collection of personalities that viewers will find fascinating," said Universal Television Productions president David Kissinger.
Sommers is set to pen the pilot script and will exec produce the series with partner and Bob Ducsay if it goes forward. The film follows DRACULA vampire hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman, X-MEN) as he battles a gang of monsters including Frankensteins Monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man. The TV, also set in the 19th century, will star a young Texas cowboy who becomes a sheriff in a town known for odd occurrences.