Tim Burton Directing ‘Mai, the Psychic Girl’?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 3:11 pm,

Like many of the major filmmakers out there today, Tim Burton is a busy man. In one capacity or another he’s attached to several projects including Dark Shadows, The Addams Family, Frankenweenie, Maleficent, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Monsterpocalypse.

However, it appears that all of that directing, producing and creative consulting work isn’t enough for the Alice in Wonderland director. According to Latino Review‘s trusted source, “Pinche Taco,” Burton is readying an adaptation of the Japanese manga Mai, the Psychic Girl.

Apparently Burton was set to adapt the comic back in the late eighties, but for whatever reason it didn’t come to fruition. According to Pinche Taco, the rights were bought eight years ago by Sony but the project was killed. The studio has apparently been having money troubles since last October and after deciding they didn’t want to make Mai they “gave it all back to Burton.”

Here’s the synopsis of the comic:

Mai is a normal teenaged girl in every way but one- she has strong telekinetic powers. She has always viewed this unusual talent as a game, something to amuse herself with when she’s bored… until she gets a high score on a test designed to find those with psychic abilities, bringing her to the attention of a shadowy organization who want to use her powers for their own gain. Suddenly, she must leave her normal life behind and go on the run, using her powers- which she still doesn’t have complete control over- to stay one step ahead of her would-be captors.

According to Wikipedia, Mai, the Psychic Girl is one of the first mangas to be published entirely in English. Even though it definitely sounds like something suited to the big-screen, I have to admit I’m surprised Burton would be the one to show interest in adapting it. Perhaps this is just a result of me not being familiar with the manga, but it doesn’t sound like Burton’s usual dark and weird material.

Fans of the comic please don’t barate me too much if I’m wrong on that one…

Burton will supervise Mai‘s screenplay (which suggests he’ll get someone else to officially write it) and he has brought the adaptation to the forefront of things, which means we could see him taking it on as his next directorial project.

If this news is true, personally I would rather he concentrate one some of the other projects he has on his slate, namely Dark Shadows. But it certainly sounds like the director is passionate about the source material if he wanted to make it two decades ago, and has now managed to claw his way back to it once more.

What do you think of Burton possibly next directing an adaptation of Mai, the Psychic Girl?

Source: Latino Review and Anime News Network

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  1. You’re right about Tim Burton being an unusual choice to helm this, Ross. Somewhere I’ve got a bunch of the Eclipse reprints; I remember them as being very much based in the real world. Nothing futuristic or even uniquely Japanese about the story, which was probably why it was chosen to be one of the first manga translated for western readers. Good stuff, but not really a lot for Burton to get his teeth into, I’d have thought. Unless he wants to do a reverse-Red Queen CGI job on Helena and cast her as Mai…

    Is he actively interested again, or is it just that he’s had the ball booted back in his general direction?

  2. Tim Burton and Manga? Didn’t see that one coming!

  3. Ive liked Burton ever since batman and i know he can bring a good film from this magna. I think hes taking on a magna because they are starting to pick up in hollywood.

    • probably- I’ve still got my fingers crossed for a live action adaptation of FLCL or Soul Eater- both of which would make more sense for Burton to latch onto.

  4. The synopsis, to me, sounds like Firestarter. Burton is a great director and this sounds like it could be a dark movie, the kind he seems to like. I’m going to have to keep this on my geek-radar.

  5. Sounds extraordinarily similar to my movie (Liberty)…!!? Mine is all based on vivid dreams and frightening, real-world personal experiences though. Oddly enough we’re gearing up and were planning to approach Tim Burton for the project just weeks from now. Small, strange world. Burton is one of my all-time favorites.

  6. LIBERTY: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1180174/

  7. I could see him doing a live action version of Soul Eater (or even FLCL), but this? Hmm…. I just don’t know yet. o_o

  8. My sense of this is that it lends itself to 3D and Blue Screen very well and thus Burton can begin his mad scientist experimentation with little worry that expectation will hinder him or his vision. I like it to the core of its possibilities… Dark Shadows may have worked for Burton in this case to get him what he really wanted as a matter of being patient and also somewhat methodical in his approach to industry negotiation…

    am I off base or does this make sense to anyone besides me??

  9. The source material is great. I’ve been a fan since the 80s. I have faith that Tim will do it justice.

  10. well i had allways know that filmakers like tarantino and burton are comic book fans, burton’s batman was fine but a manga like mai? i prefer a version of death note or elfen lied. i mean mangas had tragic and dark stories that he could use. when he get’s otu of his dark line like pewee herman’s big adventure or the planet of the apes i really don’t like it

  11. Yeah this project that was supposed to happen in the late 80′s early 90′s was pooped on once by Burton already. Sparks (R and R Mael) I believe were the ones heavily behind this project. They’ve even got a soundtrack for it that’s around. Not sure what they were to have been credited for, but this all happened during their longest lapse from music during their 40 year music career.

    Sparks came out looking good despite their absence from recording, went on to make a superb “trilogy” in more recent years.

    Anyway, yeah, the idea to adapt Mai The Psychic Girl to a movie has been around longer than Chinese Democracy.

    I hope if it ever is made, those Sparks songs will be included.

  12. Read the comic when I was the teenager. Loved the art and the story. Couldn’t hardly wait to finish once I started the books. Look like he tried to do this once in the 90′s but now there is a general 2013 release date. If Mai and Tobey Maguirre’s Robotech come out in the same year I’ll be in geek heaven!!!