Helmer del Toro sharpens ‘Blade 2’

Snipes, Kristofferson sign on for sequel

NEW YORK — New Line Cinema has set Guillermo del Toro to direct “Blade 2: Blood Hunt,” the sequel to the studio’s hit horror film that will once again star Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson. Pic is on track for a fall start and a potential summer 2001 release date.

David Goyer, who scripted the original, has written the sequel. Snipes is ready to reprise the title role and Kristofferson will come back as his mentor — a neat feat given that he seemed convincingly dead in the original.

Based on the Marvel Comics hero who’s part man and part vampire, Blade hunts down the bloodsuckers as they try to liquidate the human race.

The Stephen Norrington-directed “Blade” was a stylish surprise hit for the studio, grossing $70 million domestically. New Line has been anxious to mount the sequel, which will be shepherded, like the original, by New Line prexy Michael De Luca and exec veep Lynn Harris. Snipes and Peter Frankfurt are producing, with Marvel Studios president Avi Arad exec producing with Stan Lee.

“We are happy to have Wesley, Kris and David Goyer back because that is key to a franchise, but with Guillermo, we have another genre director with a unique vision and the opportunity to think of ‘Blade’ not as a sequel but a whole new movie,” Arad said.

Del Toro has two horror credits under his belt: his breakthrough “Cronos,” and follow-up “Mimic.” Director is also developing “Hellboy” at Universal with producer Larry Gordon as well as an adaptation of the Japanese cult comic “Domu” at Disney with producer Don Murphy.

The helmer is managed by Exile Entertainment’s Gary Ungar and agented by William Morris’ Lee Stollman, Mike Simpson and Chris Fenton. His attorney is George Hayum.

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