Director: Stephen Sommers
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh
Plot: The notorious monster hunter is sent to Transylvania to stop Count Dracula who is using Dr. Frankenstein's research and a werewolf for some sinister purpose.
Stephen Sommers deliberately chose to avoid the style of transformations from other werewolf films, where the character would usually grow hair as part of the change. Instead the decision was made to have the character rip his skin off to reveal the werewolf form underneath, going with the idea that the beast "comes from within".
The place where Van Helsing and Anna fight Dracula's three wives is the same place where they filmed Frankenstein (1931)Dracula (1931) and The Wolf Man (1941). The place is called the Court of Miracles, and this place is also found at the studio tour at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Kate Beckinsale has stated in interviews that she hated the corset she had to wear for the majority of the film and remarked that, when filming wrapped, she wanted "to burn it all".
Stephen Sommers wanted Kate Beckinsale for the role of Anna, but feared it was too similar in tone to the vampire/werewolf film Underworld (2003) which she was shooting at the time, and he didn't ask her. Eventually her agent got Sommers to send the script and Beckinsale immediately signed on.
Dr. Frankenstein's lab was equipped with antique medical equipment purchased on eBay.
Was intended to kick off a series of "Van Helsing" adventure movies; however, reviews were bad and the box office returns were far below expectations, so all plans for a sequel were dropped within days of the film opening.
Dracula's diminutive henchmen, the Dwerger, are actually dwarfs from Germanic folklore.
The scene of Carl loading up Gabriel with gear to fight the vampires is a tribute to the routine in most James Bond movies where Q arms Bond with all the latest technological gadgets for the next mission. Hugh Jackman was reported to be in the running to play James Bond at the time.
The DVD sales was $65 million in the first week in North American, more than half the revenue from theater runs.
Josie Maran, Silvia Colloca and Elena Anaya did all their own stunts for the flying scenes.
A spin-off TV series was pitched to NBC. To have been called "Transylvania", it was to have featured a wild-west sheriff taken to Europe to battle monsters, with occasional guest appearances by Hugh Jackman as Gabriel Van Helsing. The series idea was stillborn, partly because makeup, effects, and location shooting in Romania would have been too expensive, and partly because the film's opening weekend box office was far below expectations (which also doomed a proposed sequel to the film).
Throughout the movie, it is implied that Van Helsing is the archangel Gabriel. He mentions "fighting the Romans at Masada" (to which Carl responds, "That was in 73 AD!"), referring to the Siege of Masada in the First Jewish-Roman War. Later, Dracula gives his first name as "Gabriel" and refers to him as the "Left Hand of God". Gabriel is considered God's messenger, and was the angel to tell Zechariah and the Virgin Mary of John the Baptist and Jesus' births respectively.
At some point in pre-production, a cameo appearance by the Gil-Man from Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) was slated to appear in the underground cave where Van Helsing and Anna discover Frankenstein's Monster. However, this idea was dropped before filming began.
So that the production company can hold certain rights to the character, the original character from the Dracula series Abraham Van Helsing was changed to the new 'kid brother' Gabriel Van Helsing instead.
One of the last shots in which Van Helsing transforms back into a human from a werewolf was originally to be a nude scene (for Hugh Jackman), however Stephen Sommers felt that it would have been too distracting to the viewer and disrupt the emotion of Anna's death from the scene. The nude shot is still used in the film, however a CGI loin cloth was animated to cover Jackman's rear.
Towards the end of the movie, during the battle between Dracula and Van Helsing as a werewolf, Van Helsing bares the claws on his right "hand" in a manner very similar to the way the X-Men's Wolverine, also played by Hugh Jackman, bares his.