Live-action adaptations of anime seem to be the latest Hollywood trend as Your Name has just been announced to be in development from J.J. Abrams and Paramount Pictures. Your Name or Kimi No Na Wa is a 2016 acclaimed (98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) Japanese animated drama that took the world by storm. Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai (The Garden of Words, Journey to Agartha), Your Name tells the story of a high school girl in rural Japan and a high school boy in Tokyo who swapped bodies.
Your Name wasn’t just a hit among critics, but a huge financial success as well, raking in over $355.2 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time. Your Name held the top spot in the Japanese box office for 12 non-consecutive weeks. However, it seems like it came and went without much fanfare in the United States, grossing merely $5 million dollars domestically, slightly lower than Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises. But perhaps this latest announcement could ignite curiosity in the U.S. and prompt people to catch the original Japanese animated film.
In a report by Deadline, Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot have decided to collaborate with Japan-based Toho Co. to bring Your Name to worldwide audiences as a live-action feature film. Abrams — director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens — and Lindsey Weber will be producing for Bad Robot alongside Genki Kawamura, producer of the original film.
Naturally, this announcement has since received mixed reactions, with many fans firmly against the idea of a Hollywood live-action version of this film. It’s easy to understand where fans of the original are coming from, especially since many agree that the live-action adaptations of popular anime Ghost in the Shell and Death Note did not do the source materials justice, taking dense complex stories and turning them into standard Hollywood blockbusters. However, the case may be different here as this appears to be a proper collaboration between Hollywood and Japanese cinema. Even the writer and director of the original film expresses his excitement for this film. He says:
“[This will be] created with the innate imaginations of a Japanese team and put together in a domestic medium. When such a work is imbued with Hollywood filmmaking, we may see new possibilities that we had been completely unaware of – I am looking forward to the live-action film with excited anticipation.”
While the live-action adaptation still doesn’t have a director attached, Academy Award nominee Eric Heisserer (Arrival) is set to pen the script. Heisserer’s work isn’t always the best, though. While many regard Arrival as one of the best sci-fi films to ever grace the big screen, his previous four films, Hours, The Thing, Final Destination 5 and Lights Out received average reviews from critics. However, under the guidance of other talented individuals like Abrams, Shinkai and Kawamura, Heisserer should be able to write another brilliant piece.
As of right now, there is no news regarding the cast and release date of this film. It is also unclear as of now if the film will be set in Japan with Japanese characters and actors or set in the United States, with American (or Asian American) actors.
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