Mexican director Guillermo del Toro is working with US cable TV network HBO to bring to life a TV series adaptation of the hit manga series Monster, by Naoki Urasawa. Along with being the executive producer, Del Toro is also planning to direct the pilot episode, to be written by British screenwriter Steve Thompson. Shogakukan Inc., the publisher of the manga will serve as consulting producer.
Monster is about a young doctor’s search for the “most evil sociopath that ever lived”, a young boy whose life he saved a few years earlier. The doctor’s decision to save his life unleashed a Pandora’s Box of murder and now it’s up to him to stop an inevitable mass genocide plot. The 18 volume manga series, released between 1994-2001, was already adapted into a 74-episode TV anime series in Japan that aired from 2004-2005. Del Toro originally envisioned this as a feature film for New Line, but then realized the scope of the material was too grand for just one film. He also had to convince Urasawa, a legend to his manga followers, to let Hollywood adapt his epic work. This will be HBO’s first venture into the world of manga, although they have been having great success lately in the fantasy series genre, notably with the massive hit Game of Thrones, which is also adapted from a hugely popular book series.
Del Toro is known for his fascination with monsters, through films like the critically-acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth and the box office hit Hellboy. He is set to release his latest film, Pacific Rim, this July and stars several Japanese stars, including Rinko Kikuchi and Mana Ashida. Even though the trailers remind people of the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, he has said in interviews that he is not reusing the archetypes from Japanese monster cinema. But this time around, he will be dealing with a different kind of creature and all otaku fans are crossing their fingers that this will not disappoint.