Smash Hit Anime ‘Your Name’ to Receive Live Action Hollywood Adaptation Courtesy of J.J. Abrams
Hollywood is ready to sink its teeth into yet another adaptation of a Japanese anime, this time with a live action remake of Makoto Shinkai's record-breaking 2016 smash hit, Your Name (or Kimi no Na wa in Japanese).
Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams will produce alongside the original animated film's producer, Genki Kawamura. Oscar-nominated Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer will write the script for Paramount Pictures. Toho, which distributed the film in Japan, will help the American studio develop the sci-fi fantasy romance, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Your Name is a film created with the innate imaginations of a Japanese team and put together in a domestic medium," Shinkai said in a statement. "When such a work is imbued with Hollywood film making, we may see new possibilities that we had been completely unaware of. I am looking forward to the live action film with excited anticipation."
Unfortunately, Hollywood has a long history of botching (or worse: whitewashing) remakes and adaptations of Japanese anime properties, like Dragon Ball Z (2009's ill-received Dragonball: Evolution), Netflix's Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, which was met with controversy over its casting of Scarlet Johansson in the role of Japanese Major Motoko.
As of now, it's unclear whether the adaptation will retain its Japanese setting, as well as a Japanese cast, or if the film will be recreated with white actors (an insidious trend amid Hollywood), sans the critical cultural elements that made the original film so unique and poignant. (For instance, female lead Mitsuha is a Shinto shrine maiden whose spirituality, as well as her ancient method of producing sacred sake, plays an integral part in the film's climax, while male lead Taki's frantic metropolitan Tokyo lifestyle and attitude—as well as nuances of the Japanese language—lend to the film's comedic edge.)
Shinkai's Your Name became the fourth-highest grossing film of all time in Japan last year, as well as the highest grossing anime film worldwide, even beating out beloved Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki. Your Name undoubtedly left a cross-cultural impact on global moviegoers and otaku alike. Let's hope Hollywood doesn't tarnish that.
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