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Fact From the Vapor of Nuance

Live Action Ghost in the Shell Adaptation Gets Director

DreamWorks is taking steps to make its live-action adaptation of the venerable Ghost in the Shell franchise, and they’ve picked a director with experience in turning lady-led action into undeniable box office success.

According to Deadline, the film has just gotten a new script treatment from William Wheeler, writer for The Reluctant Fundamentalist, several episodes of The Cape, a Jodie Foster-directed project that goes by the name Brand, and Queen of Katwe, a film based on the life of teenage Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, to be directed by Mira Nair. So that’s an interesting guy to put behind a cyberpunk story about a female human/cyborg shooting guns and battling hackers, terrorists, and machine intelligences. And by interesting, I mean that’s a body of work that may contain exactly the kind of nuance that would give a movie about a woman with cyborg parts firing guns, driving fast cars, and beating up bad guys a cyberbrain, not just some bionic prostheses.

DreamWorks is confident enough Wheeler’s script that they’ve moved forward on the project to tap Rupert Sanders to direct. Okay, now hang on. I’ll be the first to admit that Snow White and the Huntsman was not good. I would argue that its biggest problems came not from directing, but from basic writing problems with poorly-thought through themes, script structure, and pacing. It wasn’t good, but instead it was a very commercially successful movie featuring a female action lead that immediately ignited sequel talk. Bad action movies with men in the lead that make oodles of money and get sequels are a dime a dozen, while the fear of a flop simply because the lead is a woman pervades Hollywood. SWatH proves that a female-led action film does not need to be perfect to be profitable, and the more Hollywood understands that, the more like we are to see the industry take chances on on women in action films, which means we are more likely to see female-led action films that we actually want to watch more than once.

Will Ghost in the Shell be one of those? I’m optimistic. Sanders still has to find time in his schedule to get the production going, but with Steven Spielberg reportedly the person gunning for DreamWorks to pick up the rights in the first place, the project is unlikely to disappear. There’s even a chance we might get that Spielberg producing credit.

(via Deadline.)

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  • athenia45

    I hope they tap Rinko Kikuchi to play Major Kusanagi!

  • Calum Syers

    I’ll be eyeing the casting of this very closely. One misstep and I will spit venom upon this until it is lying in a dank urine soaked hellhole.

  • Anonymous

    Visually, Snow White and the Huntsman had a lot going for it, so I think your right that Sanders might work well for Ghost in the Shell. (but oh my god that writing, woooooow)

  • Adam Cross

    100% agreed.

  • Adam Cross

    I’d rather see a director with some more experience, and someone who loves the subject matter. Who is Rupert Sanders other than “the guy who slept with Kristen Stewart”?. hmmm.

  • Jamie Jeans

    Okay… here’s where I’m going to beat my head against the wall.

    Anyone wanna bet that this is going to be whitewashed all to hell?

    This does not need a live action movie adaptation. It’s just fine as the anime movie and series that it was.

  • According2Robyn

    That does sound great, but why am I experiencing that stomach-tightening feeling I get whenever Hollywood is unzipping its pants and getting ready to piss all over a treasured part of my youth?

  • Jonathan L. Howard

    Am I the only one who’s hoping against hope it will feature at least a cameo by the tachikoma? They are my favourite ever philosophical, gun-toting, fun-loving, arachnomorphic robots.

  • locuas

    guess it also depends of how well the robocop movie goes with the audience to see if they will make it or not(well, she IS female Robocop, at least from the premise you could say so)

  • Anonymous

    actually, one of my favorite parts of the series was where all the Tachikomas spent an entire episode talking about what it meant to be an individual. taking that along with the similar theme of what it meant to be alive from the first movie, i think they’ll be able to find some nuance to explore.

  • Anonymous

    of course, if all that is too much, they could always just focus on the political science.

  • Anonymous

    mamoru oshii made an unrelated live action movie called Avalon after directing ghost in the shell. the movie wasn’t all that great, but i couldn’t help but think how much the woman that played the main character could have been a great Major.

  • Anonymous

    Obligatory (and I was surprised it wasn’t mentioned in the article) “Please don’t whitewash Kusagnagi”.

  • Adrian

    I share the whitewash fear. However, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making a live-action movie. It doesn’t have to be a slight against the anime (which I enjoyed) to create a new, live-action movie. I say great art deserves to be re-interpreted into other mediums! It’s when those re-interpretations lose the soul or culture of the original (through white-washing, for example) that the result is regrettable. As usual, I’m just hoping for the best.

  • Anonymous

    If you’re going to make an anime into a live-action movie, this is a great one to do. It makes a bazillion times more sense than Akira. Whatever happened to that anyways?

  • Alexa

    Let’s just hope this doesn’t turn into a white wash job…Oh who am I kidding of course that’s going to happen…

  • kinoumenthe

    Don’t wake it.

  • Anonymous

    Reminds me of this idea to whitewash “Akira” as an American remake.

  • SuperFubar

    This will probably be bad but i still want to see it. Like, i know a Captain Planet movie would be terrible but i still want to see that too.

  • Anonymous

    It strikes me the current Fox series Almost Human is somewhat like what a Ghost in the Shell series would be like, taking in account the movie, the anime series, the manga – which is what I’m hoping they do.

  • Cain S. Latrani

    I remain hesitant to get excited, just because I’m not sure anime always needs a live action adaptation.

    I’d really like it if anime could just be appreciated for what it is.

  • Anonymous

    I heard they keep the various treatments in separate jars in a safe in Leo’s basement.

  • Veronica Brodsky

    I really hope this falls into development hell. I don’t trust the director, and I sure as hell don’t trust Hollywood. The tv series means a lot to me (I’ve only seen one of the movies), and this is just…ugh… They would have to do a lot to win me over.

  • Amourah

    Nope. Nope. This is going to be bad. Like how the live-action Avatar The Last Airbender was bad. Guaranteed bad. bad bad bad.

  • Jay Salinas

    I would actually be fine with it, as long as it’s out of canon. I can’t see them keeping it canon and have it appeal to both new and core audiences.

  • Raiden

    If Hollywood casts a white girl, I am going to throw a fit.

    Why can’t we get one decent blockbuster movie with a complex Asian lead? Y’know, one that doesn’t suck?

    Also, my pick would be Rinko Kikuchi as Kusanagi.