Ninja Scroll Officially Headed to the Big Screen, Too!
by Alex Billington
October 26, 2008
First it was Akira, now it's Ninja Scroll, too. Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way will be producing a live-action adaptation of the classic anime movie for Warner Brothers. Screenwriter Alex Tse, who wrote Zack Snyder's upcoming Watchmen as well as Michael Mann's upcoming Frankie Machine, will be writing the script. No director has been announced yet, but considering Akira picked up a no-name director, I expect Ninja Scroll to probably do the same. At one point, it was rumored that James McTeigue's Ninja Assassin was a Ninja Scroll remake, but that was quickly debunked. Now it's actually happening.
Ninja Scroll is a Japanese action thriller anime written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The film was first released in Japan in 1993 and made its way to the US in 1996, where it quickly became one of the most popular anime movies in US history. The anime is set feudal Japan and tells the story of a ninja-for-hire who is forced into fighting an old nemesis who is bent on overthrowing the Japanese government. His nemesis is also the leader of a group of demons each with superhuman powers. In addition to Akira, it's regarded as one of the best anime movies ever made and is just as popular.
One of the biggest questions surrounding this is whether or not all of the violence, gore, sex, and nudity will remain intact in this translation. I'm expecting that Warner Brothers will try to make this PG-13, but then again, it could very well be R. I'm thinking they're waiting to see how Ninja Assassin does in theaters, since that is a very hard R ninja movie. Either way, this is quite an exciting future for anime fans, with Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, and now Ninja Scroll all being converted into live-action Hollywood adaptations. I just hope this trend turns out to be more worthwhile than video game adaptations.