Two major anime titles, Ninja Scroll and Full Metal Panic, are set for live action adaptations and are nearing pre-production.
Ninja Scroll is to be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio (and Warner Brothers) headed company Appian Ways, whilst Mandalay Pictures has acquired the rights to Full Metal Panic.
Reports suggest DiCaprio is considering casting famous male group SMAP as the leads in the live action Ninja Scroll. He is said to be intent to “cast with Japanese people” in the adaptation, which he acquired the rights to last year.
Appian Ways also holds the rights for another legendary anime movie, Akira, though no details on this were given.
DiCaprio, said to be a great fan of both movies, has stated that filming won’t start until everyone involved is satisfied with the script.
SMAP’s agency was not forthcoming in a recent statement to Nikkan Sports: “We have nothing to say yet, but if it does come true, we would certainly like to talk about it further.”
Additionally, news that Mandalay Pictures has successfully acquired the rights to a live action adaptation of the Full Metal Panic! series also surfaced.
In what could be the the news that makes or breaks the movie, actor Zac Efron is apparently set to play Japanese born (but Afghan raised) lead Sousuke Sagara.
It is not clear whether the character will be changed to fit the casting of a non-Japanese actor, but this seems far from improbable
Possibly the success of Dragonball Evolution has whetted the appetites of Hollywood studios for more fresh IP; being able to take huge liberties with the original works whilst packing the cast with Hollywood stars likely also helps…