Keanu Reeves recently spoke to MTV, updating us on the progress of his latest live-action passion project Cowboy Bebop.
The project appears to be perfect for Reeves, who loves his anime but also holds a special place for the Sci-Fi genre. Having done films like A Scanner Darkly, Constantine, The Matrix, and the recent The Day The Earth Stood Still, it seems fitting for him to embody the role of Spike Spiegel.
The Japanese television series follows a group of bounty hunters in the year 2071, traveling on the their spaceship "the Bebop." Spike and Jet Black pilot their way through the universe collecting bounties and adding new members to the Bebop crew. The anime has earned creditable success across the globe, so the hopes (and stakes) are high.
Reeves revealed a bit about the projects status and as well as some thoughts on the upcoming adaption. He explained "we've got the rights, we've got a writer" and "he's putting together a scene outline." He also said the plot would focus on a fictional drug, Red Eye, which provides its users with superhuman reflexes and awareness.
Though focusing on the beginning of the series is good footing, Reeves also said “and then we’ll deal with the end of the series. We’re trying to figure out [the time frame]. We’re looking at the story right now.” This is where the premise pieces should concern fans.
The 26-episode show, and anime feature film, doesn't maintain a linear style of storytelling; beginning with a premise, each show is rather episodic. Reeves said "because it’s such a short form, to make a 2 hour version [will be tough]" and coupled with the described plot, the film would be unfaithful and counter-intuitive the the actual show.
He continued with "and it’s got so much of an origin-story obligation; you’ve got to get people up to speed, but you don’t want to do much of that. There are a lot of things to take into consideration, but we think we can do something good.” I hope so, but we might need to be light on the definition of "good."
Because of Cowboy Bebop's style of storytelling, the film should be an introduction to the world as it exists. There are few good origin stories, films that introduce the characters properly. Its success has been dependent on settling up the world, as it exists to the main characters, and shedding light on their motivation. Reeves has part of it right, but a film adaption of Cowboy Bebop should only remain in the beginning of the series and end with the assumed continuation of its premise. If done well, the eventual end of the series could be part of a sequel or third film. I suggest this because this particular series requires more time to develop on screen, as exemplified by its television counterpart, presented to a wide audience as a first impression doesn't allow the viewer to enjoy the premises enough to accept the conclusion.
Though Reeves knows the challenges in making a movie for Cowboy Bebop, he did say "Yeah, but that's why you want to do it." At least there are some positive signs in this project's development.
Are you looking forward to a Cowboy Bebop movie? Do you think Reeves can pull it off?