Now that its controversy-laced live-action Americanized take on Akira has been postponed – and the Death Note adaptation is basically on hold while writer/director Shane Black works on Iron Man 3 – Warner Bros. is looking ahead to another live-action project based on a best-selling manga/anime property.
The property in question is Bleach, which originated as a serialized manga written and illustrated by Tite Kubo back in 2001. Over the past decade the Bleach franchise has become massively popular and spread out to a variety of mediums including an ongoing animated TV series (re: anime), video game spinoffs, several feature-lenth animated films, and even a handful of rock musicals.
Bleach tells the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager who can see supernatural entities. Those abilities prove to be just the tip of the iceberg after Ichigo encounters Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper tasked with both guiding recently-departed souls to the afterlife and defending humans from violent lost souls (known as Hollows). Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper himself after Rukia inadvertently transfers all of her powers to him, thus setting the young man on a collision course with forces far more dangerous than Hollows.
Variety is reporting that Warner Bros. has set Dan Mazeau to script the live-action Bleach adaptation. Mazeau is an up-and-coming writing talent who’s receiving both screen story and screenplay credit on the upcoming Wrath of the Titans and has already been set by the studio to co-pen an early script draft for Clash of the Titans 3. Not to mention, Mazeau has also worked previously on the scripts for such in-development action titles as a Johnny Quest movie and The Flash.
That’s all to say, Mazeau being brought onboard for the Bleach live-action movie makes sense; what is more confusing is that Peter Segal (who’s already set as producer) is being eyed as the potential director for the project. Not only has Segal not helmed a picture since 2008’s Get Smart, but he’s also known best for working on broad comedies such as the third Naked Gun movie, Tommy Boy, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Anger Management, and 50 First Dates.
Get Smart is a pretty effective mix of laughs and action, but that slapstick-heavy film is a pretty far cry from the often darkly violent and serious nature of the Bleach universe. That’s not to say the Bleach manga and anime alike are really relentlessly grim and gritty (both have their fair share of comedic bits), but it seems like Segal would be pretty far out of his element when it comes to tackling a live-action adaptation.
Bear in mind, this is all just preliminary speculation as we have no idea how exactly Warner Bros. will (or, conversely, won’t) be altering the traditional Bleach mythos in the live-action adaptation. Who knows, perhaps Get Smart will ultimately prove to have simply been a stepping stone for Segal on his way to moving away from farcical comedy material to more straight-faced action fare.
We will keep you posted on the status of the Bleach live-action movie as the story develops.