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L.A. Times: CW Discusses Battle Royale TV Remake in U.S.

posted on by Ko Ransom
Network reportedly seeking to expand novel into hourlong drama, in talks to acquire rights

The Los Angeles Times newspaper's 24 Frames column reported on Thursday that The CW television network is in talks to acquire the rights to Koushun Takami's Battle Royale novel. Although the talks are preliminary, the network has reportedly spoken with the title's Hollywood representatives about potentially adapting and expanding the novel into an hourlong dramatic series.

Battle Royale depicts a Japanese dystopian society in which every year, a middle school class is chosen to engage in a battle to the death with each other. Viz Media publishes Takami's original novel in North America.

Kinji Fukasaku directed a well-known film adaptation in 2000, and his son Kenta Fukasaku completed the sequel Battle Royale II: Requiem after the elder Fukasaku passed away during production. Takami and Masayuki Taguchi's manga version spanned 15 volumes over the course of six years. Tokyopop released the entire manga starting in 2003 before shutting down its North American publishing operations.

Update: Producer Roy Lee noted to The Wall Street Journal newspaper that in 2006, he and Neal H. Moritz were proposing an American film adaptation of the novel but the project went dormant after the Virginia Tech shootings. After the release of Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games novel in 2008 and the subsequent film rights pickup in 2009, the similarities between the two works ended plans for an American Battle Royale film remake for good. "Look, there isn't a studio out there that would invest the money to do a Battle Royale feature film remake now," Lee said. "Audiences would see it as just a copy of Games — most of them wouldn't know that Battle Royale came first. It's unfair, but that's reality." Yang noted that Takami told ABC News that he appreciated his fans' support in the Battle Royale/Hunger Games comparisons but that “every novel has something to offer."

The Los Angeles Times commented that a television series adaptation "could offer a new opportunity, picking up on the theme but in a different way, much like The CW's The Vampire Diaries found success even in the wake of the first Twilight movie."

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