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Hellsing: John Wick's Derek Kolstad & Amazon bite on live action movie based on 'gonzo' vampire manga

By Benjamin Bullard
Derek Kolstad

It’s turning into a bloody busy year for John Wick co-creator Derek Kolstad. On top of writing for Marvel’s upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier at Disney+ and developing a Dungeons & Dragons TV series, Kolstad reportedly is also joining forces with Amazon for a movie adaptation of Kouta Hirano's fang-tastic Japanese horror manga, Hellsing.

Per Deadline, Amazon Studios and Kolstad are teaming up to develop the live action Hellsing project, and it sounds like something Kolstad’s been dying to do for a long time. “Ever since my brother introduced me to the Hellsing manga and anime some years ago, I’ve been obsessed with adapting it,” he explained, via the report. “And when Mike Callaghan and his team managed to secure the rights to then partner us up with Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Amazon, I mean — damn, dude — this is a dream.”

Hellsing Impure Souls manga cover

Callaghan is a producer on the upcoming movie, which will be based on the original Hellsing manga series from writer and illustrator Hirano. The action-horror manga first debuted in 1997 from Japanese publisher Shōnen Gahōsha as a serial comic, and enjoyed a lengthy run that lasted until 2008. English-language issues and special compilations from the series were subsequently picked up by Dark Horse.

In print, Hellsing follows a reimagined version of the Dracula mythos that adds an extra “L” to the esteemed doctor’s name, while placing female protagonist Integra Hellsing — the great-granddaughter of Abraham Van Hellsing — at the center of the action. Hellsing’s lore-reimagined version of the classic Bram Stoker tale finds Dracula going by his backwards-reading “Alucard” identity, operating as “a special agent bound to The Hellsing Organization” with ongoing assistance from Seras Victoria — an original manga character described as “a female ex-police officer.”

Kolstad reportedly will produce the movie with Callaghan and Reuben Liber of Ranger 7 Films, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Fred Berger of Automatik, and Jason Lust of Soluble Fish Productions. Lust framed the Amazon partnership as “a post-modern reinterpretation of the Dracula character that flips him on his head in an inventive and compelling way,” while Callaghan described Hirano’s original manga series as a “gonzo reimagining of the Dracula-Van Helsing mythology” and “an exhilarating, quirky mashup of action and horror that’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.”

There’s no early word on whom Kolstad and Amazon might be eyeing to star in the Hellsing adaptation, nor on whether Kolstad’s producing role might also extend to writing or directing. Similarly, info on when the movie might premiere on Amazon’s streaming platform — or perhaps even take a bite out of the big-screen box office — remains firmly concealed beneath a closed coffin lid…at least for now.

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