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Dragon Ball Movie to Film This Year for 2008 Release

posted on by Egan Loo
Final Destination's James Wong to direct Justin Chatwin (Goku)

Twentieth Century Fox has officially announced that it signed director James Wong (Final Destination, X-Files television series, The One) and casted twenty-five-year-old Justin Chatwin (War of the Worlds, The Invisible, Lost television series) in the lead role of Goku for the movie adaptation of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball action manga. According to the Variety newspaper, filming is set to begin this month, and the film is slated to open worldwide on August 15, 2008. James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Spike, Smallville's Brainiac) will play the antagonist Piccolo, and Stephen Chow, of Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer fame, is producing the project.

Wong will not only direct the film, but he also rewrote an earlier script that was submitted by Ben Ramsey (The Big Hit). According to The Hollywood Reporter newspaper, the story centers around the alien Goku as an adult as he protects Earth — the very planet he was sent to destroy. Chatwin is training under the stunt firm 87Eleven (The Matrix, The Bourne Supremacy, 300). Other roles are still being casted. Previous reports have indicated that shooting will take place near Montreal, Canada and in Mexico, and that Heroes actor James Kyson Lee is auditioning for the role of Yamcha.

Between 1984 and 1995, Toriyama created 519 installments of the original manga for the publisher Shueisha and its Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. The manga's 42 compiled volumes have sold over 150 million copies in Japan and over 300 million copies worldwide. Both the manga and its anime adaptations (Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z) have enjoyed success in countries in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. The 17 animated movies in the franchise have been seen a record 49 million times in Japanese theaters. Fox first acquired the live-action film rights to Dragon Ball in 2002.

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