One of the main complaints leveled against the otherwise well-regarded Guillermo del Toro is that his reach often outstrips his grasp. Constantly announcing new projects, del Toro has a habit of watching promising properties slip through his fingers (though often through no fault of his own).
We can only hope that his most recently announced project doesn't share the same fate as At the Mountains of Madness. Reports indicate that del Toro will work with HBO to develop a live-action series adaptation of the celebrated Japanese manga Monster, by Naoki Urasawa.
Deadline shares the news that Guillermo del Toro has begun work on the pilot episode of an adaptation of the thriller manga Monster. Planning to direct the first episode himself, del Toro has tapped writer Steven Thompson (Sherlock) to pen the pilot's script.
Monster's long, twisted narrative begins in West Germany in 1986, where Japanese surgeon Kenzō Tenma makes the choice to save the life of a wounded 12-year-old boy rather than a local politician – only for the boy to disappear from the hospital. Nine years later, Tenma learns of events that convince him that the boy he saved has gone on to become a nightmarish sociopath with a genocidal master plan. Tenma resolves to track the man down and stop him by any means possible.
Monster was previously adapted into an anime series that aired on Japanese television in 2004 and later on several networks in North America. In 2005, New Line Cinema purchased the film rights to Monster. However, writers attached to the project were unable to condense the immense comic series (weighing in at 19 volumes) into a single movie.
This would only be the second time HBO has broadcast a live-action series based on a comic book (the first being the 1989 version of Tales from the Crypt). However, the interest in Monster and in the works of Naoki Urasawa is completely understandable. Urasawa is currently one of the critical darlings of the comic book world, drawing praise worldwide not only for Monster, but also other long-running series such as Happy! and 20th Century Boys. His most celebrated work probably has the least promising synopsis – 2003's Pluto adapted a beloved Astro Boy adventure story into a grim, detailed murder mystery. Nonetheless, Pluto is an exciting, visually rich, and emotionally resonant story.
Handled correctly, Monster could be a huge crossover hit for HBO. The original manga is a tense, constantly-moving thriller. Though Guillermo del Toro is known largely for effects-heavy blockbusters such as Hellboy and Pacific Rim, he's shown an able hand with creepier, more atmospheric work (such as The Devil's Backbone). With del Toro at the helm for its pilot and producing an extended series, Monster may end up being one of premium cable's must-watch series.
Monster does not yet have a definitive air date. Keep tabs on Screen Rant for more information.