Keanu Reeves Hopes to Star in Live-Action Cowboy Bebop
posted on by Egan Loo
Actor Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, A Scanner Darkly, Johnny Mnemonic) told the MTV Movies Blog that he hopes to play the lead role in Twentieth Century Fox's proposed live-action film adaptation of Sunrise's Cowboy Bebop multi-genre action anime series. Erwin Stoff, a film producer who worked closely with Reeves on The Matrix and A Scanner Darkly, told the IFMagazine.com entertainment website in July that a film development deal was signed. Stoff and Reeves both emphasized a desire to remain faithful to the original work.
Reeves said that Cowboy Bebop's "Western film noir aspect, […] that kind of Old West, bordertown, low-tech science fiction aspect" attracted him to the project. He added that Stoff and the development team have already hired a writer who is penning a scene outline. Right now, the outline includes a drug, developed by the military, that is partially based on an element from the anime. Reeves explained, "We're taking the Red Eye [story], the beginning part of the series." He acknowledged that the episodic nature of the story will be difficult to adapt into a feature-length work: "[…] It's got so much of an origin-story obligation; you've got to get people up to speed, but you don't want to do much of that. There are a lot of things to take into consideration, but we think we can do something good."
Reeves is self-professed fan of anime and science fiction. He personally attended the opening day of the first (and last) North American branch of Japan's Animate store chain in Los Angeles on December 23, 2000. He also reprised his Neo role from The Matrix in the Japanese-animated "Kid's Story" segment of The Animatrix video anthology. Not coincidentally, "Kid's Story" was directed by Cowboy Bebop director and co-scriptwriter Shinichiro Watanabe.
Watanabe's original Cowboy Bebop series follows the motley crew of the spaceship Bebop as it travels throughout the solar system in search of the next job. The anime distributor Bandai Entertainment and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block released the 1998 television series in the United States, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the subsequent 2001 animated movie. The anime was also adapted into two separate manga series, and Tokyopop released both manga series in North America.
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