Dreamworks Producing Live-Action ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Adaptation

Published 9 months ago by

Ghost In The Shell 2 Innocence Dreamworks Producing Live Action Ghost in the Shell Adaptation

Years have passed (literally) since anyone’s talked about re-adapting Masamune Shirow’s landmark manga-cum-anime Ghost in the Shell. First conceived on the page by Shirow in 1989, brought to the big screen in 1995, and sequelized in 2004 (by legendary Japanese filmmaker Mamoru Oshii), the Ghost in the Shell franchise has largely survived as a television property in the intervening decade, as seen in early aughts TV show Standalone Complex and, much more recently, OVA series Arise.

This makes recent developments over a new Ghost in the Shell film potentially very exciting. It turns out that there’s been movement on bringing Shirow’s creation back to theaters with a new update on his original work; Dreamworks, the studio that initially released the truly excellent movie sequel Ghost in the Shell: Innocence ten years ago still owns the rights, and they’re intent on pushing ahead with another interpretation of Shirow’s manga, this time through a live-action rather than animated lens.

According to Deadline, who broke the news earlier today, Dreamworks even has a name lined up for the director’s chair: Rupert Sanders, of Snow White and the Huntsman notoriety. Sanders will be working from a script penned by writer William Wheeler, lately responsible for authoring the screenplay of political thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist. 

These are two of the most fundamental building blocks of the filmmaking process; if Dreamworks already has a script lined up and a helmsman ready to take the reigns, then they’re probably pretty serious about getting the film made.

But will the choice of Sanders satisfy those loyal to Shirow’s and Oshii’s respective creative contributions to the Ghost in the Shell brand, or will his association with Snow White and the Huntsman simply disappoint fans?

rupert sanders 90 church Dreamworks Producing Live Action Ghost in the Shell Adaptation

Ghost in the Shell is a far cry from the fantasy fare of Sanders’ Snow White riff; set in the future, Shirow’s story revolves around Security Section 9, a special ops police force tasked with combating cyber-crime in a world where people commonly interface with personal technology implanted directly into their brains. Quite different from the sword and sorcery trappings of Sanders’ debut.

At this point, Sanders remains an unproven filmmaking quantity; one movie, particularly one so lackluster as Snow White and the Huntsman, is a very small sample size to determine a director’s skill behind the camera. But clearly Hollywood sees something in him, as he’s attached to direct on no fewer than three other distinct projects; he’s all set for Universal’s Napoleon biopic, true crime saga 90 Church, and an adaptation of British author Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Kill List.

So Sanders has a pretty full plate as it is. Maybe it would behoove Dreamworks to call on someone who’s both more established and more available to call the shots on set for their film, though; Sanders, whatever anyone thinks of his directorial efforts, seems like a shaky pick if only for the sake of how busy he’s becoming as his involvement with Snow White and the Huntsman finally starts to pay off for him.

As a result, this turn of events feels like something of a mixed blessing. It’s invigorating to see Dreamworks get the gears turning on their Ghost in the Shell production, but Sanders isn’t an especially inspired pick for the material.

There’s a question as to whether a new interpretation of Shirow’s graphic novel is even necessary in the first place, as with most studio-driven live-action anime pictures (notably Warner Bros.’ Akira remake, which received a production start date months ago). Ghost in the Shell, no matter what incarnation you enjoy it in, is great as it is. What’s to be gained from making a Hollywood version of the same narrative?

For the time being, though, this looks like it’s happening whether fans approve or not. We’ll just have to sit back and wait to see if the whole thing actually comes to fruition, and what it looks like when it finally takes shape.

_____

We’ll keep you posted on Ghost in the Shell updates as they become available.

Source: Deadline

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TAGS: ghost in the shell

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  1. I am worried about an Americanization of any adaption, but it is possible for an American studio to avoid this, but they would have to do things a lot differently than they normally do. They need it to be a ‘game changer’, like Blade Runner and The Matrix were, otherwise they shouldn’t try it at all. Because like Akira, GITS was a ‘game changer’ for anime, so I agree with the comment above that it requires a vision, and not just a cash in. A pity Kubrick is no longer around. It shouldn’t mean it needs a huge budget either, as FX are a lot easier these days, and a minimalist use of them is what this movie should emulate, as the technology in that universe is so ubiquitous and integrated, it is almost invisible. It is the tone and atmosphere that makes GITS special. The emphasis needs to be on imagery that has a certain ‘stillness’ to it, and that is strongly associated with the music. This should be true even in action scenes. I don’t know if the Yanks can deal with that. The movie needs to be set in an Asian city, in a post WWIII scenario, where Americans are seen as foreigners, which they could also find hard to do. If it was set in the US, they would end up with too much baggage when it comes to dealing with the political intrigue. You’d just end up with ‘goodies and baddies’ again, instead of the ambiguity needed. A flooded Hong Kong, like the first anime would be fine, but an entirely fictional city and country couldbe used. Characters could be any ethnicity to a point. Batou obviously seems caucasian, but Motiko would perhaps be more likely asian, or eurasian, or totally ambiguous, since she’s a cyborg. It would be good if they looked at the Swedish TV series Real Humans, to show how acting and a little makeup can achieve a lot more than FX. They could note its minimal style and imagery too.All in all, if they try to make a summer blockbuster, they will fail. If they stay true to the philoosophy, and even get an R rating for violence or nudity, then so be it, if they need it to maintain integrity. They can play with the story all they want, like they could ‘visit’ America, or show background of the war, or their lives, but there still should be strong connections to original plots from any of the manga or anime. If they can achieve these things, they won’t have a typical ‘mass appeal’ movie. That’s why Hollywood probably can’t do it. But if they did do it, instead of their increasingly common formulaic trash, they would have a movie, like Bladerunner, that people still rave about decades later, and change the way subsequent movies are done. Let’s hope they have the courage to try.

    • I was just thinking about Ridley Scott and Blade Runner just before I read your post.

  2. Americans making a japanese anime live action
    best idea ever gonna make massive dosh
    no just no this is a cash in nothing more, will not make any attempt to watch and as a fan of gits i find this disgusting and have no hope whatsoever of this production being of any quality.

    • agreed. i will not watch it either. we should boycott it.

  3. dear Hong Kong producers please make ghost in the shell movie first. well in all reality if they do make it in the states I hope they take their time and do it right I would rather wait an extra couple years than have a crappy quick movie. I would prefer a live action series over a movie.

  4. Nothing is sacred, is it?

  5. do not ruin ghost in the shell dreamworks… you cannot do this …i repeat DO NOT RUIN ONE OF THE BEST MANGA/ANIMES OF ALL TIME… i will be boycotting this movie if you attempt it.

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