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Rumor: Is James McTeigue's Next Movie a Remake of Ninja Scroll?

by
February 21, 2008
Source: Film Junk

Ninja Scroll

Last week we broke the news that V for Vendetta director James McTeigue would be teaming up with The Wachowski's as producers yet again for a movie titled Ninja Assassin. All that was reported was that South Korean pop star Rain had been cast and that it was planning to film in Berlin starting in March. Other than that, not a single plot detail has since been revealed and the project seems shrouded in quite a bit of secrecy. However, our friends at Film Junk came across a scoop yesterday that speculated that this Ninja Assassin movie could actually be a remake of the 1993 anime Ninja Scroll.

The rumor originally comes from Kung Fu Rodeo, where they received info on an open casting call for the movie that lists names of characters that are eerily similar to Ninja Scroll. All of the other sources that have regurgitated this news seem pretty confident that Ninja Assassin is just a code-name for Ninja Scroll, which could easily be possible, but I can't find any particular similarities besides the lead character Jubei. However, not having seen Ninja Scroll nor being familiar with it, I can't exactly say that they're wrong and I'd more like to believe that they're right. But of course, take this as one big rumor for now until it all gets confirmed.

After doing some quick research, The Wachowski's have actually mentioned Ninja Scroll as one of the three primary anime movies that inspired The Matrix, the other two being Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Considering an Akira live-action adaptation just got greenlit at Warner Brothers yesterday, and the TV series of Ghost in the Shell just finished a few years back and is currently airing on Adult Swim, I'd guess that they're not selling the rights for a live-action Ghost in the Shell movie just yet, which in turn leaves Ninja Scroll as the last of the three. Now things are starting to make sense and this actually seems fairly rational.

Ninja Scroll DVDNinja Scroll is an anime set in feudal Japan that 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. The anime was written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri and was originally released in Japan in 1993. The film didn't make it to the US until 1996 where it quickly became one of the most popular anime movies ever. If this rumor ends up being true, it's anyone's guess as to whether they'll still set it in feudal Japan or whether it will be modernized.

If this does turn out to be true, this could actually still be very cool. Although I'm not too familiar with Ninja Scroll, I'm confident enough in McTeigue and The Wachowski's that I think this could turn out great, even if it is modernized. No matter what it ends up being, anything with ninjas and The Wachowski's is certain to be awesome.

The last thing I'll say is actually that I'm a bit sad that news is getting out about this. The reason why I loved Cloverfield so much was the incredible secrecy involved with the film and the fact that the trailer in July came from nothing - no one had heard or mentioned this project ever before that moment. I had a feeling that The Wachowski's and Warner Brothers wanted to keep it that way with Ninja Assassin, but Rain broke the news himself in a press conference. Now that the word is out, people are starting too look into it and I'm sure the veil will soon be lifted. Too bad, because this would've been cool to discover completely after the fact when a trailer launched, say, in front of Speed Racer.

Is anyone familiar with Ninja Scroll? What do you think of The Wachowski's remaking it into a live-action film with James McTeigue at the helm?

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  • Avelanch
    Wow, if this is true it could be AMAZING! Ninja scroll is one of my favorite animes to date, it was a great movie and I highly suggest people watch it. if they really are going to be a live action version of it they are going to need some seriously amazing special effects. hopefully this is actually what it is. concider my intrest rising.
  • akumared
    Wow, i always wonder when they were going to make a live action version of one of my personal anime movies and here it is. Well, it all depends if it is base out of ninja scroll... To all of you who haven't seen ninja scroll yet, you need so see it. This anime still kick a$$ after almost 15 years ago.
  • TheGuyInThePJ's
    #2 - Agreed. Ninja Scroll is a must-see if your an anime fan. But I would also recommend that you see: 'Vampire Hunter D' 'Ghost in the Shell' 'Cyber City Oedo 808' 'Cowboy Bebop' and of course 'Akira'. And if anybody should try to adapt Ninja Scroll onto celluloid it should be McTeigue/Wachowski's or Tarantino... so this seems like good news in my opinion.
  • Fatal Error
    Ninja Scroll has an extremely dark tone, with a jaded, sarcastic protagonist. It's tailor made for the Wachowskis. However, after seeing the trailer for Speed Racer and being thoroughly confused as to how I feel about it, I hope they don't eff this up.
  • jason_md2020
    At least they're not setting it in New Manhattan. (Sorry still pissed about the Akira thing.) If they can match the tone & style of say, Hero or House of Flying Daggers, then this could be really cool. Combining that martial arts & wire work with the Wachowski's attention to detail. Then DAMN!
  • Nastydog1093
    If it is made true to the Anime then this is good news. If they are going to revamp or re-imagine it then I will have to wait to be excited.
  • Sinner
    Whaddup Alex. You must find (Best Buy) & watch (tonight) Ninja Scroll & let me know what ya think. You will definitely want this in your media collection even if you're not a huge anime fan. This movie is ridiculous & will be very expensive & difficult to produce, if done correcly. I'm very skeptical as to whether the Wachowski's know what kind of following Ninja Scroll has or if they're just looking for another payday. Hopefully not the latter.
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    Sinner, I'm definitely going to pick it up and watch it... I'm at WonderCon in San Fran so maybe the import booths will have a copy I can buy for cheap. Definitely on my must see list now.
  • C-Young
    The thing is... you don't even have to be an Anime fan to like Ninja Scroll. The first time I watched it a was absolutely blown away... literally and figuratively lol. Previously I had never watched an Anime flick and ones I've watched after Ninja Scroll let me down tremendously. I know I'll get crushed for this but Ghost in the Shell didn't do it for me. I'll have to take a look at Akira and Vampire Hunter. I still to this day will pop in the Ninja Scroll DVD for onlookers yet to view it. Alex... definitely check it out. It's really the only Anime (dunno if Princess Mononoke counts...)movie I enjoy. I'm no hardcore fan and don't claim to know much about the genre, but I do know that everyone that watches Ninja Scroll loves it and usually supports this thought with, "Badass!"
  • PG
    The consensus is right about this one. I think you'll really enjoy Ninja Scroll, Alex. Definitely one of the best animes ever, and this is coming from someone who isn't a big anime fan. And to those who mentioned Vampire Hunter D, also another great one. If done right this could be an awesome movie.
  • M Blick
    Ninja Scroll and Akira... wow.. 2 amazing Anime`s and both way up with my favs...This is a must see... just hope the effects do it justice.... I`ve always wanted too see a Anime remade into a Live action.. and been thinking of it for ages... well here we go... Great Stuff...Can`t wait...
  • Buddha Master
    Ninja scroll download go buy it one of the best along with Akira,Ghost in the shell,Fist of the north star and i'm not really an anime fan not hardcore fan anyway. Afro Samurai and Gotham Knight worth checking out too. Great news but do not modernized please.Akira a good idea but i heard about the non Japan setting ("NEO TOYKO IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE!") not "New Manhattan is about to explode". But no studios going to put money into an unknown Asian/american actor they would rather rehash a great story than write something new and fairly original. What about the actor playing agent zero in Wolverine -Origins (Daniel Henney) you could then market it more in Japan/Far east.
  • JYT
    I'm really excited about a live action version of "Ninja Scroll." And I were to bank on any young Asian actor to handle the lead, it would be Rain hands down. Though he is best-known throughout Asia for his hip hop/R&B albums and all-out singing/dancing performances, he's also starred in three highly successful 16-episode dramas on Korean TV since 2002. He has the acting chops, folks. He's got the physicality, versatility and mojo to match the Wachowskis' vision. In addition to the supporting role in "Speed Racer"--which apparently was expanded once the brothers saw what he was capable of--he starred as an entirely different character in "I'm a Cyborg But That's Okay," a quirky film by the director of the Lady Vengeance trilogy. So the guy can carry a film. Frankly, I'm more worried about the classic AKIRA being reinterpreted by Leonardo di Caprio and crew. That's sacred stuff...
  • http://rain-jihoon.com seung lee
    NINJA SCROLL is well awesome and RAIN is going to well cool on this character called jubei! i can't wait untill this movie comes out! RAIN is going to be some character on this movie men! ARGH! but seriously i don't really like japan as a korean but this anime is really good, you should try it i recommend it, even if you don't like anime should try this one! SERIOUSLY! i can't wait to see rain as a Jubei! it's a perfect character for rain!
  • Bruce Darren Acosta
    NINJA SCROLL THE MOVIE. I don't think the movie Ninja Assassin would have anything to do with Ninja Scroll but if it does then it could be the key,so the filmmakers of Ninja Assassin will be an action movie and it will have nothing to do with Ninja Scroll if it is true or not. Back in 2002 when Mortal Kombat producer Lawrence Kasanoff had the rights to Ninja Scroll but the project was on hold and I don't know if Hollywood can get the Ninja Scroll rights. Producer Joel Silver would think Ninja Assassin will be a action movie. If Kasanoff could be bring more money in the year 2010's to make the real motion picture of Ninja Scroll which it will be an American movie. So we think that Ninja Assassin is not a movie version of Ninja Scroll,we don't know. Thank You. BRUCE ACOSTA AUSTRALIA.
  • Manfred Powell
    From what I've heard, it doesn't seem as though this film will be a remake of Ninja Scroll. There are four lead roles in this upcoming movie, all of which are supposed to be members of a sect of ninja. Two of these roles have been cast (Colin Chou and Rain). By the way, it's now been confirmed that the Wachowskis' officially credited role will be that of producers (although there is speculation that they actually wrote an early draft of the script), with official scribe duties going to the legendary comic book, TV, novel, and screen writer Joseph Michael Straczynski.
  • Karen Worthington
    The only reason why I will watch this movie is because of RAIN!
  • JYT
    According to producer Joel Silver, this project has nothing to do with Ninja Scroll. The original screenplay is credited to two writers, one is a seasoned veteran and I think he was responsible for Battlestar Gallactica among many other projects. The action is set in modern day and the setting is not Japan. It's being filmed in Germany. So the Wachowskis are probably going to turn the genre on its ear like they did with The Matrix. At least, that's what I hope! The male leads are Rain and Karl Yune. Rain apparently plays a ninja who wants out of the clan and Yune will be an adversary. Unfortunately Collin Chou was not cast, but frankly I prefer to see a new generation of hot Asian guys fill the screen. To see photos of Rain training in martial arts, go to: http://yeinjee.com/2008/rain-training-for-ninja-assassin/#more-226 He looks impressive. He was awfully good as a hothead in Speed Racer.
  • marzilla
    The closest thing right now is a movie called "Shinobi: Heart Under Blade", and it has a poison-breathing female ninja named Kagero in it.
  • Generalidea
    I don't get it, why would something that had superb pencil drawn animation be better in another format?

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