One thing we all can agree on (well, for the most part) is that Snow White and the Huntsman is a visually-gorgeous and gritty take on the macabre fairy tale. Credit for that belongs in no small way to director Rupert Sanders, which explains why he remains a possible candidate to helm the developing Huntsman spinoff even after he made tabloid headlines with Kristen Stewart (SWATH's $400 million worldwide gross didn't hurt either).
Universal wants to remove the toxic buzz that surrounds Sanders and the Snow White franchise, which is why the studio has floated projects like 90 Church - and now, the Van Helsing reboot starring Tom Cruise - as alternative films for him to direct next (instead of the Huntsman movie).
Sanders' dark, grounded, take on the fantasy-adventure genre with SWATH gels with what Van Helsing producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci have in mind for the project. Moreover, the fact Sanders is not committed to any particular project right now makes him a contender to tackle yet another revisionist take on literature (one that is fully grounded in supernatural horror, no less).
Twitch says the talks between Sanders and studio executives are "relatively casual" for the time being, but the ex-video game commercial director's aesthetic sensibilities are worlds apart from those of Stephen Sommers (who was behind the campy, CGI-centric, Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale). That, in a nutshell, is exactly what Universal is looking for, so hiring Sanders on seems like a no-brainer move - assuming he's interested, of course.
Cruise began shooting the Japanese sci-fi novel adaptation All You Need Is Kill last week, but there's a good chance he will set to work on Van Helsing not long after production wraps. It would be refreshing to see Cruise play the titular vampire hunter as less brilliant and physically-invincible (a la Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes) and more an eccentric genius who relies on his sharp wits and brains to survive (but don't count on that happening).
Things are in motion on Van Helsing, so once we know for certain who is directing it will be easier to gauge whether this film is going to be a Sherlock Holmes-esque treatment of the Dracula mythos - or maybe something less conventional (as may be the case with Eli Roth's Harker). As always, we will keep you updated.