All your Faye Valentine fantasies are finally going to come true… if you have any at least! Following Akira and Ghost in the Shell announcements, apparently Cowboy Bebop is in for a live-action adaptation as well. IF Magazine talked with veteran producer Erwin Stoff (via AICN) and discovered that he's working on making a live-action Cowboy Bebop movie with Fox. Apparently it's very fresh news: "I'm really excited to be working on it, and it's in the really early stages. We just signed it the other day." If you're not so familiar with Bebop, it's an incredibly popular Japanese anime TV series that first aired back in 1998 and has become a hit here in the US as well as Japan. I'm not exactly a big fan myself, but considering Hollywood is caught up in the anime trend, I'm definitely excited to see this one come to life as well.
Stoff goes on to explain his enthusiasm for the project and their attempts to remain faithful. "I have such an enormous admiration for its creators, that our first and foremost concern is going to be a real degree of faithfulness to the tone of the movie, to the mix of genres, and so on and so forth. When I met with them in Japan, one of the first things that I brought up was the experience that we had on A Scanner Darkly, and how hard we worked to remain faithful to Philip K. monkey, and that was our big concern here." Don't get confused, this does not mean that they're going for a similar animated look like A Scanner Darkly, as he explicitly said that it's going to be live-action. And if you're wondering who Faye Valentine is, she's one of the main character's in the series and a fan favorite. The photo to the right comes from Bam Kapow's gallery of Faye Valentine costumes.
The show first aired in Japan in early 1998 and was brought over to America in 2001 on Adult Swim. The series follows the adventures of a group of bounty hunters traveling on their spaceship, the Bebop, in the year 2071. Sony released a full-length animated film titled Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heavens Door in 2001 where it was greeted with immense praise from fans worldwide. It is easily one of the most popular mainstream anime series and is beloved by many people even if they're not hardcore anime fans. I think it's the perfect series to adapt, but like Dragonball, I worry that it may get screwed up in translation if it falls into the wrong hands. Unfortunately both Dragonball and this adaptation are at Fox, which isn't a good sign so far, but maybe they'll find a good director. However, I'm enjoying Hollywood's anime trend and am anxious to see what they're going to do with Cowboy Bebop. Thoughts?
First it was Akira, now it's Ninja Scroll, too. Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way will be producing a live-action adaptation of the classic anime movie for Warner Brothers. Screenwriter Alex Tse, who wrote Zack Snyder's upcoming Watchmen as well as Michael Mann's upcoming Frankie Machine, will be writing the script. No director has been announced yet, but considering Akira picked up a no-name director, I expect Ninja Scroll to probably do the same. At one point, it was rumored that James McTeigue's Ninja Assassin was a Ninja Scroll remake, but that was quickly debunked. Now it's actually happening.
Ninja Scroll is a Japanese action thriller anime written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The film was first released in Japan in 1993 and made its way to the US in 1996, where it quickly became one of the most popular anime movies in US history. The anime is set feudal Japan and tells the story of a ninja-for-hire who is forced into fighting an old nemesis who is bent on overthrowing the Japanese government. His nemesis is also the leader of a group of demons each with superhuman powers. In addition to Akira, it's regarded as one of the best anime movies ever made and is just as popular.
One of the biggest questions surrounding this is whether or not all of the violence, gore, sex, and nudity will remain intact in this translation. I'm expecting that Warner Brothers will try to make this PG-13, but then again, it could very well be R. I'm thinking they're waiting to see how Ninja Assassin does in theaters, since that is a very hard R ninja movie. Either way, this is quite an exciting future for anime fans, with Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, and now Ninja Scroll all being converted into live-action Hollywood adaptations. I just hope this trend turns out to be more worthwhile than video game adaptations.
Afro Samurai Headed for Live-Action with Andre 3000 Starring?
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There is a panel I missed again at Comic-Con this year but would've loved to attend - Afro Samurai! If you're not familiar with this awesome anime series, it first launched last year and features the voice of Samuel L. Jackson as Afro. Some of the most interesting news to come out of this panel includes details about a potential live-action big screen version that Jackson will spearhead, but not star in. MTV brings us the latest details from Jackson, who reveals that "we have a live-action plan" and that "hopefully, that script will come together and we'll be able to do that in the next two years or so." If there is one anime series that I'm really excited to see head to the big screen, this is definitely it!
On the show, Jackson is an executive producer and the voice of the Afro Samurai, but he has decided not to be the one to bring the samurai to life. "I won't be doing that… I'll be the dead father. I'll show up in some spiritual scenes, and give him some guidance. We'll find some young guy that is capable of doing all those things and make it really cool." That's a remarkably smart decision, but who does Jackson have in mind? "You know, when I look at him, I see Andre 3000. So, maybe so." Andre 3000, aka André Benjamin, has starred in a few movies recently in addition to being one of the founders of the group Outkast, including Revolver, Idlewild, Battle in Seattle, and Semi-Pro. Although the film itself wasn't top notch, Andre was one of the best parts of Semi-Pro, so I might agree with Jackson's decision on this one.
If you're concerned that this will never see the light of day, I wouldn't be so worried, because if anyone, Jackson is the man who can make sure it gets made. Apparently he's a big fan of the show has made it a priority to get this movie made. Here's some additional enthusiasm to get you excited for this adaptation. "'Afro Samurai' is an interesting hybrid we did, hoping that people would like it, and people embraced it. It just kinda happened. And now I'm walking down the street and people are asking me about 'Afro Samurai.' When's it coming back? When's the game coming out? Apparently it has resonated with a lot of people as well as it did with me when I first saw it." Again, if you're not familiar with it, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the first season on Blu-Ray over on Amazon.com right now!
My response to all of this: bring it on! The entire series from the start has been under Jackson's wing and thus I don't think it will have a problem being adapted. While others may complain about the Cowboy Bebop movie or how bad Dragonball looks, I think Jackson and the entire team involved on Afro Samurai know exactly how to keep the spirit and tone of the show as part of a live-action movie. And I can't wait to see it happen! Am I the only one looking forward to an Afro Samurai movie?
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