The popular manga/anime ‘Naruto’ has attained enough notoriety in the U.S. that discussions have emerged of turning it into a live action movie.  The original manga was written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto who recently declared that he would be producing no new material because he needed a rest, but considering that the manga began in 1997 and both it and the anime adaptation ran until last year, there’s plenty of fodder to be harvested for a live action movie, which is currently in the works at Lionsgate.  The studio is hoping to enlist digital effects artist Michael Gracey to direct.  Also in the mix is Avi Arad, the former producer of Sony’s ‘Spider-Man’ movie franchise.

‘Naruto’ stars the title character, a young ninja who dreams of one day becoming the main leader and protector of his village.  As a child, he is an outcast because he was bonded as an infant with Nine Tails a powerful and malevolent fox which grants him his powers.  Regardless, he and his friends Sasuke Uchiha and Kakashi Hatake form the group Team 7 and begin training to become ninja warriors.  Thus their adventures begin.

The plans for a live action movie are just in the discussion phase with Gracey just in negotiations and no script.  Gracey is currently slated to direct his live action debut, ‘The Greatest Showman On Earth,’ a musical biopic about the life of circus great P.T. Barnum, with Hugh Jackman attached to star.

There have been many attempts in the past to adapt anime projects to live action, however, at least in the US these haven’t really panned out.  The Wachowskis’ 2008 ‘Speed Racer’ and James Wong’s 2009 ‘Dragon Ball: Evolution’ were big budget flops and those shows were among the best known to American audiences.  (It doesn’t help that both films were critically ravaged.) Even adaptations of anime-like western shows like ‘Æon Flux’ and ‘The Last Airbender’ failed.

As popular as some anime becomes with US audiences, it’s still a fringe interest and a lot of the appeal is that it’s foreign– written and animated in a style unlike western creations, which are largely aimed at broad family audiences.  Even simply dubbing the original shows/movies into English often results in a lot being “lost in translation.”

This may be why so many similar proposed projects have stalled and/or been abandoned.  An adaptation of ‘Akira’ has been in development hell for decades as has ‘Ghost In The Shell.’  The latter is reportedly back on track with Scarlett Johansson attached.  Perhaps her popularity will budge this project closer to actually happening.

Are you interested in a live action ‘Naruto’ movie?  Or should Hollywood leave this and other anime series alone?  If it actually happens, who should star?  Comment below!

Source: Screen Rant