Sunday, August 2, 2015

Live-Action 'Naruto' To Be Developed By Lionsgate

Naruto's story came to a touching conclusion last year, but it looks like it's not the last that we will see of the titular hero. Apparently Lionsgate has acquired the rights for the popular Japanese manga/anime 'Naruto'. The manga first debuted in 1999, being written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto, and ran publication until 2014. Its initial success led to an anime adaptation in 2000, followed by the sequel Naruto: Shipuuden. The story chronicles a young ninja named Naruto who gets in numerous mischievous missions throughout the ninja world while dreaming of someday becoming the Hokage (ninja leader of their village). Unbeknownst to him, there is a powerful mystical creature trapped inside his body that was sealed there when he was born.

According to the Tracking Board, Lionsgate is currently in talks with visual effects / animation artist Michael Gracey to direct the live-action Naruto film. The filming locations would still be far off considering there is no screenwriter yet to be attached in the film, but producer of Ghost in the Shell and the Spider-Man franchise Avi Arad is said to be a big fan of the series and will produce the film via his Arad Productions. Overseeing the production wll be Erik Feig, Geoff Shaveitz, and Kelly O’Malley.

Gracey initially began work on visual effects and animation, but he has now moved to directing feature films with a bunch of movies attached to his name. As of now he is working for Warner Bros on a movie adaptation of Road Dahl's 'The Witches' to be produced by Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo Del Toro. He is also set to direct the Elton John biopic 'Rocketman' by Focus Features and the Jim Henson biopic 'Muppet Man'. Although what others might be expecting is his first feature film debut as a director of 20th Century Fox's musical 'The Greatest Showman on Earth', lead by Hugh Jackman and set to be released in 2016.

The franchise's fantastical elements mixed with martial arts made the anime into a very popular show for children, having aired in US channels such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney XD, as well as Adult Swim's Toonami. The manga was also a popular read for all types of people, earning it an avid worldwide fanbase. It had it's fair share of animated feature films, but a live-action film would be quite a tall order since Hollywood hasn't really done a great job of adapting anime shows so far.

We have yet to see a good film adaptation of a popular manga franchise, but here's hoping this adaptation will do the manga justice. If you remember hollywood's last attempt with Dragonball: Evolution that didn't quite fare well with fans and critics, it seems like Lionsgate would have to give their best if they want to produce a good Naruto film. We have yet to see Gracey's directorial work but having a background in special effects would help this action packed anime turned into a good live-action movie. Here's hoping they actually use a Japanese filming location considering its influence from ninjas in ancient Japan.

For now, we'll keep you updated if more news of this movie adaptation comes.


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