Cowboy Bebop Live Action Series in the Works

Way back in 2008, Keanu Reeves was pegged to star as Spike Spiegel in a live-action film adaptation of the influential 1998 anime series Cowboy Bebop. An ambitious script was written by Peter Craig (The Town), but it may have ultimately been a bit too ambitious: Reeves speculated it would cost $500 million to film it, and the project eventually faded away.

But Cowboy Bebop is too popular to ignore, and now a new live-action adaptation is in the works: this time, though, it’s being devised as a television series.
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never ending man hayao miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the best living filmmakers in the world, in and outside of animation. So it was a loss for us all when he announced he would retire in 2013 — and a perplexing but exciting gain for us when he nixed that retirement and stated that he was coming back to direct a feature-length CGI animated film.

And because we got a lovely, melancholy documentary following the end of the last phase of his career — if you haven’t seen 2013’s The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness by Mami Sunada, do so now — we’re getting yet another documentary on Miyazaki titled Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki, which follows his newfound passion for CGI animation and the making of the film bringing him out of retirement, Boro the Caterpillar.

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Hollywood adaptations of asian movies

A lot was riding on the success of Ghost in the Shell. The upcoming wave of anime adaptations such as Death Note and Akira, Paramount Pictures’ chance for a new sci-fi franchise led by Scarlett Johansson, and the chance to stymie the steadily-growing outcry against whitewashing.

But when Ghost in the Shell limped into theaters last weekend, bringing in a meager $20 million domestically on a $110 million budget, that may have spelled the end for Hollywood adaptations of anime classics. But this is not the first time Hollywood has tried and failed to remake a critically and financially successful film based on an Asian property — nor will it be the last time. The question I’m interested in answering is whether or not these Hollywood adaptations of Asian movies actually make money. Let’s look at the numbers. 

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Ghost in the Shell Whitewashing PSA

The issue of whitewashing in Hollywood is a frustrating one, and the latest culprit in the struggle of non-white actors to have lead roles in major franchises is Ghost in the Shell.

Scarlett Johansson has the lead role in the American adaptation of the Japanese manga turned anime, a story which originally featured a female Japanese protagonist at its center. There are those who don’t understand why that’s a problem simply because the movie has to appeal to American audiences. But a new Ghost in the Shell whitewashing PSA by filmmakers Chew May and Jes Tom illustrates why having diversity in movies that are adapted from this kind of source material are important. Read More »

akira remake director jordan peele

Jordan Peele is the director of the moment, with his feature debut Get Out making waves critically and at the box office. And reportedly Warner Bros. has taken notice, courting the Key and Peele co-creator to direct the embattled live-action adaptation of Akira.

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akira down to two directors

There are many cautionary tales of Hollywood’s “development hell,” but none perhaps quite as storied as the attempts to adapt a live-action adaptation of the groundbreaking anime classic, Akira.

Now Warner Bros. has appeared to narrow down their shortlist to two directors, one of which has just released a movie this weekend.

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Ghost in the Shell Dubbed

For fans of the original Ghost in the Shell anime and manga who might be perturbed by the fact that the live-action adaptation from Paramount Pictures is starring Scarlett Johansson, creating another instance of whitewashing in Hollywood, the studio is trying to make amends in an interesting but potentially problematic way.

When a Hollywood film is released in Japan, audiences can choose to see it with subtitles or dubbed by actors. In the case of Ghost in the Shell, the actors doing the voiceover work for the dubbed version will be the original voice actors of the anime adaptation from 1995. Read More »

Ghost in the Shell TV Spots

There are some really big movies hitting theaters this month. Logan is in theaters now, Kong: Skull Island arrives next week (and it’s fantastic), Beauty and the Beast arrives on March 17 (and it’s also pretty good), Power Rangers follows on March 24, and then we come to Paramount’s contribution to a surprisingly packed blockbuster month: Ghost in the Shell.

Based on the acclaimed manga of the same name, Ghost in the Shell takes Scarlett Johansson into the future as a new cyber-enhanced soldier who is part of a team tasked with taking down dangerous criminals. However, slowly the secret behind her creation starts to be revealed, and it has far more sinister origins.

Watch a batch of new Ghost in the Shell TV spots to see more from the film. Read More »

Ghost in the Shell Geisha Masks Featurette

Later this month brings the live-action adaptation of the iconic manga Ghost in the Shell. It remains to be seen if this new take on the material will be something that can resonate with both general audiences who may not be familiar with the title or those who are loyal to the manga and the beloved anime adaptation. Regardless of whether or not the movie turns out to be praiseworthy, one aspect of the production undeniably deserves acclaim, and that’s some of the work done by Weta Workshop.

Weta Workshop quickly became the go-to company for both practical and visual effects after their work on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and since then they’ve been part of countless Hollywood productions, churning out some truly outstanding work. Ghost in the Shell is no exception, and you can see their quality work in a video with former Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage exploring the robotic geisha masks created for the movie with Weta’s founder and creative director Richard Taylor.

Watch the Ghost in the Shell geisha masks featurette after the jump. Read More »

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Ghost in the Shell trailer

While Marvel continues to hem and haw about giving Scarlett Johansson her own solo superhero movie, Paramount’s swooped in and made her the centerpiece of her very own would-be sci-fi action franchise. She stars as the Major in Ghost in the Shell, a new live-action adaptation of the classic Japanese manga. With director Rupert Sanders behind the camera, the film seems to have no shortage of stunning visuals. But can the rest of the movie live up to those cool designs?

A new Ghost in the Shell trailer offers a bit more story, so you can judge for yourself. Plus: find out what Johansson has to say about the ongoing whitewashing controversy over the casting of this film. Read More »