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Michael Gracey Gives Update on Live-Action Naruto Film in Interview

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Director wants Masashi Kishimoto's approval, says script is being rewritten

Collider reported on Thursday that director Michael Gracey (The Greatest Showman) recently discussed the status of Lionsgate's planned live-action Naruto film with the website. Gracey revealed that the staff is still working on the script because he wants to make sure the work has the approval of original creator Masashi Kishimoto.

Gracey said:

I don't know [if it will be my next film], to be honest. You know Kishimoto, who created the original series, he's just a genius. So many Hollywood adaptations of really popular manga series just don't get it right, and for me what was really important was that if I was gonna do Naruto, I wanted to actually work with Kishimoto and get a script to a stage where he would look at it and be excited about realizing it. Because no one knows the world better than the person who created it.

Gracey continued:

So for me, as it stands, we're still working on the script. Because until that script is at a level that I'm excited about, I have no interest in destroying an amazing franchise, as has happened before. But I think the great thing is that everyone involved, from Lionsgate to the producers, are all of the same mind. Everyone knows how precious this property is and to me it's incredibly exciting, and I love the work that I've gotten to do on it to date. At this stage, no one is going to go into production until we've got a script that excites everyone. So whether it's my next one or not, I don't know. We'll have to wait and see.

The Hollywood Reporter reported last August that Jon and Erich Hoeber (Red, Red 2) are on board to rewrite the script for the film.

The Tracking Board Hollywood news website had reported in July 2015 that Lionsgate had closed the rights to adapt the manga into a live-action film, and was in talks with Gracey to direct. The Naruto and Boruto stage event at the Jump Festa event confirmed in 2016 that Lionsgate and Gracey are working on the film, and that Kishimoto is involved with the production. An earlier scriptwriter has not been announced.

The Tracking Board also reported in 2015 that Avi Arad (Hollywood's Ghost in the Shell, Gamba: Gamba to Nakama-tachi) and his son Ari Arad are producing the film at Arad Productions, and Erik Feig, Geoff Shaveitz and Kelly O'Malley are overseeing the film.

Kishimoto launched ninja manga in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1999, and ended the series in November 2014. The manga has spawned the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden television anime series, OVAs, several anime films, spinoff manga, the Boruto sequel manga series, a series of novels, stage plays, and video games.

Sources: Collider (Dave Trumbore), Cinema Today


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