Chistopher McQuarrie Writing Live-Action 'Star Blazers'

David Ellison and Skydance Productions have turned into the go-to financing partner for Paramount. The company put up money for True Grit and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and will be behind the Jack Ryan reboot and the sequel to Top Gun if that film goes forward.

Christopher McQuarrie will add the script for that Top Gun sequel to his resume that already includes The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie. And now Skydance is negotiating to buy the rights to classic anime series Star Blazers, and will turn to Mr. McQuarrie to craft the script for a live-action version .Star Blazers is the US version of the Japanese show Space Battleship Yamato, in which the scuttled WWII battleship Yamato was turned into a space-going vessel. The goal: undertake a last-ditch interstellar journey to collect and return technology that will dissipate radiation that has rendered the Earth inhabitable. An alien race called the Gamilas (or Gamilons) is to blame for the radiation; their enemies on the planet Iscandar gift the Earth with the faster-than-light tech to create the space ship.

The series didn't do particularly well in Japan, but was edited into a theatrical movie that outgrossed Star Wars. That led, in turn, to a set of theatrical and TV movies and additional TV episodes that continued the story.

Deadline says that, like the original anime, this film would be "space opera, involving alien invasions, the near extinction of the human race, and a last dash journey through space to save the planet."

And, yes, there is a new Japanese film based on Space Battleship Yamato — the first live-action take on the story to go into production. That version was released in early December in Japan, but we haven't heard of any plans for a US release. Now that Paramount and Skydance are working on an American equivalent, don't expect more than a local DVD release.

(Note that David Ellison's sister Megan is evidently the indie-minded one in the family, as she has come to the financial rescue of Paul Thomas Anderson and Wong Kar Wai.)