David Lynch Almost Made a Live-Action Film Out of Katsuhiro Otomo's Domu Manga
posted on by Kim Morrissy
/Film reported that the acclaimed surrealist filmmaker David Lynch (Twin Peaks, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet) almost made a live-action out of Katsuhiro Otomo's Domu manga during the 1990s. According to Star Wars assistant art director and costume designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero, there was a time when Bandai expressed interesting in working with Lucasfilm to create an adaptation of Domu. Rodis-Jamero spoke of the idea to Lynch, who was eager to take on the project, but they eventually decided against making the film due to the short production time frame and contract.
Rodis-Jamero was first exposed to Domu during a visit to Bandai's headquarters in Japan. Bandai executives told Rodis-Jamero that if he could obtain the rights from Otomo, they would pay for the production costs, prints, and advertising. After Rodis-Jamero got Otomo's approval of his script treatment of the manga, he asked Lynch if he was interesting in directing it. The two had stayed in contact ever since the production of Return of the Jedi, when George Lucas brought Lynch to the art department. "So when the opportunity to do Domu somehow miraculously happened, I took it to David because this is David's territory," Rodis-Jamero told /Film. "And I told David the opening scene, and before I could finish the opening scene, he said, 'I'm in.'”
Unfortunately, the project never panned out. Rodis-Jamero explained that Bandai wanted the team to begin shooting in only 12 months, or otherwise the rights for the film would revert back to Bandai. "David and I took it to Propaganda Films. They were the production company that did Wild at Heart for him. Unbeknownst to me though, David and Propaganda Films' relationship was beginning to come apart," he said. "Propaganda was more interested in my sweetheart, my sweetheart being Bandai. 'Why did Bandai give you this?' This being full production, full marketing and prints, and I'm nobody… They were more interested in getting that deal from Bandai than in making the movie for David and I. That's really when it kind of started to come apart."
He eventually walked away from the project after hearing advice from his attorney. "My attorney told me, 'You need to walk away from this. They're offering you money to walk away from this. Walk because with the turnaround, they're never gonna be able to shoot the movie. You're never gonna be able to get this shooting within so many weeks because they turn around deadline is coming.' So yeah, I walked away. I decided I'm done with movies.”
Domu was first serialized in 1980-1981. The manga tells the story of an old man with psychic powers, who begins a series of murders at a giant apartment complex. Chaos ensues as a young girl, with powers of her own, combats the old man in a battle of the mind.
Series creator Katsuhiro Otomo hasn't had much luck with live-action adaptations of his work in general. Warner Bros. announced a live-action film adaptation of the Akira manga in 2008, with Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) directing the film. Entertainment news website Deadline reported last December that Warner Bros. moved its planned film off its release schedule. Entertainment news website Variety reported in July 2019 that Warner Bros. has delayed the film indefinitely. The film was previously slated to begin production in fall 2019, and its release was scheduled for May 21, 2021.
Thanks to Juan for the news tip.
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