Rupert Sanders to Direct Live-Action Adaptation of 'Ghost in the Shell'

January 24, 2014
Source: Deadline

Ghost in the Shell

Since director Rupert Sanders won't be able to take on the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, due to the complicated relationship situation that spawned with star Kristen Stewart, he's been trying to line up his next project. Sanders has been linked to a Napoleon biopic, the crime thriller 90 Church, an adaptation of The Kill List, and a sci-fi crime thriller called The Juliet. Now Deadline has word that he's also signed on to direct a live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell, which has spawned anime films, a TV series, video games and more. Could this be another debacle like the live-action take of Akira?

For those who aren't familiar with Ghost in the Shell, the story follows a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime. It's probably safe to say that this will be an Americanized version of the manga, because that's just what Hollywood likes to do (see The Last Airbender). William Wheeler (of The Hoax and "The Cape") has written a new script for the adaptation, which has been in development as far back as 2008 when Steven Spielberg was circling an adaptation. Could this work, or is anime as hard to develop into film as video games?

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  • Grosser Unbekannter
    A few more clips from the classic:
  • Reznik
    Ironically Kristen Stewart resembles Motoko Kusanagi from the film. The atmosphere and story of Ghost in the Shell sets it aside (in my mind) from other anime's. I don't think anyone in Hollywood could replicate that. The planets never align with these projects.
    • Chris Groves
      Personally I think Stewart might be a bit on the 'short and skinny' side for the character. I mean, I have nothing against short, skinny girls. But I mean, Motoko is clearly taller, and regardless of height, has a rather curvaceous figure. It seems like it's too often that 'curvy' women in the source material are played by rather skinny girls in the films. That's not a commentary directed at the Gal Gadot casting in Batman vs Superman either, just a general observation. Obviously not EVERY women is some curvy bombshell, and it's not like comic books an anime present the most realistic/common proportions, either. But sometimes, it seems like they don't even try to get a women who has a general resemblance to the look/figure of the character.
    • Motoko is a beast. When she puts her body to the test it's clear that while she is womanly, she's also very muscular under that artificial skin. Also Hollywood did replicate the feel of Ghost in the Shell with Blade Runner and The Matrix.
      • TheOct8pus
        Blade Runner came out long before Ghost in the unless Ridley Scott took a time machine to 1995 (which is completely possible) you may want to re-examine your statement. You're right about the Matrix though!
  • TK
    Hollywood all too often only see an existing fan base to make money off. Not so much as a glance at how amazing the material is. Anime has such rich stories that, if someone can take the time and care to properly flesh them out, they could make amazing movies. Last Airbender was a shame because the anime was awesome. Same goes for games I guess...just look at Max Payne. I thought that was a no brainer of movie to make. Turned out to be a no brainer of a movie to watch instead.
    • it was not an anime.
  • Freedommarket
    The Last Airbender is an American cartoon creation by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. It was never a manga. A more apt comparison would be the debacle that was Dragonball: Evolution or the two straight-to-video Guyver films. Malcolm McDowell was also in a terrible Fist of the North Star adaptation back in 85, and of course the Wachowskis made Speed Racer, probably the most successful U.S. attempt at adapting a manga/anime (which isn't saying much). Oh, and Oldboy is originally a Japanese manga. Also, in addition to Akira, there are currently at least 4 other films (Battle Angel, Bleach, Death Note, Cowboy Bebop) sitting in developmental hell at the moment in Hollywood. For the most part, I hope it stays that way... Unless we get a writer/director that truly has a passion for and understands the material, in the way that certain directors today do for American comics. In regards to Japan, I'm hard pressed to think of anyone other than Guillermo del Toro who at least came close to staying true to an anime/manga-like world, with his production of Neon Genesis Evan.. I mean Pacific Rim. I love Ghost in the Shell, especially both Stand Alone Complex series (the current ARISE series is also good so far, though only 2 of the 4 episodes have been released), and a Hollywood adaptation would need to be as faithful and respectful as possible to be anywhere near successful.
    • Hasdi Bravo
      Preach. Perhaps we should pick on upcoming "Americanized" manga movies as well like KITE (Samuel L. Jackson) and EDGE OF TOMORROW (Tom Cruise). How about "Japanized" movies like UNFORGIVEN remake (Ken Watanabe)? Yet, we still have hypocrites insist on using THE LAST AIRBENDER as a prime example of "Hollywood whitewashing" instead of admitting it is all a pretext to bash an Indian American like M. Night Shyamalan.
      • Guest
        I'm calling Poe's Law on your last sentence.
        • Hasdi Bravo
          I think that's fair. If you must know, I am being sarcastic / ironic with my last sentence. I just don't understand why we keep seeing cheap shots at THE LAST AIRBENDER when there are more relevant and blatant examples of "Hollywood whitewashing".
    • Primo
      I agree with everything you said except for the Fist Of the North Star... Agreed Malcolm McDowell was horrible but Gary Daniels was pretty dope as Kenshiro,
    • Brian Sleider
      HEY I saw those Guyver films as a kid and LOVED EM......looking back yes they are god awful........
  • Ehsan Davodi
    Japanese Blade Runner Ghost in Shell is one of my favorite futuristic Jap-Animes. A animation for every body but THE CHILDREN. Dark & Gritty Future , Fantastic Atmosphere , Mind-blowing Action , Intense & Sensible Story , Precise Characterization , Violence & Brutality , Hot & Sexy Women . I SAY IT HAS FASCINATING WORLD & INCREDIBLE MATERIALS. This must be definitely R-Rating (at least) I want this remake but i say they must stick to the original work.
    • first of all, don't say Jap-anime. Anime already implies it's from Japan and many Japanese people don't like the term Jap or having it attached to their culture as a prefix. Secondly I don't think you have a lacking understanding of Ghost in the Shell and don't understand that it's been remade and that the film itself is an adaptation of a manga. Ghost in the Shell has a lot of different places it can go. It's currently being made into a 4 part film series in Japan that completely re-explores the origins of Section 9 and Motoko. Also as for being Rated R, that's totally unnecessary as they proved with Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, which was more adult that the previous film in it's tones but garnered a PG-13 rating from the MPAA. The TV show also got nothing more than TV-14 when aired in the US and is far better than the original film.
      • Ehsan Davodi
        Dude , First i think when you say Newton Laws , Mr.Issac Newton don't get upset because of many peoples saying his name and he knew he invented the laws himself either , then we can't talk from point of everybody views. Can We? Anime belongs to the Japanese and I LOVE JAPANESES (like every other human beings) Second , English is not my native language then sometimes some meaning and words lost in my translation (EXCUSE ME EVERYONE) Third , pg-13 for animations is R-rating for live pictures and i talking about first Ghost In Shell anyway. Doesn't Agree?
  • It's the style and attention to detail that is often lost in translation. Nolan did a good job of ripping off Paprika, but it had none of the exciting visuals that the original had. The Japanese just have a better eye for design, the only thing that bugs me about a lot of anime's is the weird sexual stuff and the male characters stupid reactions when meeting women, but I think that says a little about Japanese society. Ghost in the Shell is a good anime, but sometimes the story concepts are just too clever for a mainstream audience, which seems to result in terrible films.
    • actually I think the reactions and sexual stuff says a lot about the anime that you're watching. You won't find that kind of content in anime like Ghost in the Shell, Akira, anything by Miyazaki. What you're watching are probably comedy based anime that have fan service as one of their selling points. Usually in this style of anime they're interjecting a stereotype protagonist that's a pretty blank slate so the audience watching can put themselves in their shoes. This is a trend in anime.
      • Akira was my first love, always I tried to recapture that first viewing by watching as many anime as I could, shortly after watching Akira, I saw Porco Rosso which for some reason was showing on Cartoon Network in the UK at the time, the next week was Totoro, pure magic. The best anime I've watched in years is Tekkonkinkreet, I put it up there with Akira. It also pushes the boundaries of animation, years ahead of the Paperman movie. MindGame too, which is also incredible. Just sometimes when I look for other anime to watch, that look good from a trailer, often they go into that weird embarrassed by the co-worker routine.
        • TheOct8pus
          What's the embarrassed by the co-worker routine?
          • When a grown man, over the age of 30, can't speak to a woman he works with and becomes like an infant in her company, goes red in the face and squirms like a worm. It happens a lot. It maybe comes from an overly polite society, that finds it funny, but it always gets int the way of the story. It's only a minor gripe. I love the style of the animation and overlook it most of the time.
          • TheOct8pus
            Aaah....yes. The old, scratch back of head while a giant drop of sweat appears on forehead and mouth suddenly gets really large and teeth and nose disappear scene....
  • Chris Groves
    I prefer Akira to Ghost In the Shell. But there have been so many takes on GITS in animated form. There was a movie, a sequel, an animated series, and I believe a new series of animated films. So surely a live action adaptation can't be viewed as sacrilege. It's not like the original film is simply this single gem standing head and shoulders above everything else. This is a story that has already been re-explored multiple times, so a live action version is perfectly fine by me....I can't say I'm terribly interested.
  • Damon King
    I personally love Dragonball Evolution despite what the haters are saying, people who hate the film aren't the real fans at all. It stayed true to it's source material and characters, what else did you expect a masterpiece. With a concept as silly with Dragonball to begin with what did you seriously expect to come out in live action form? It did the job for what it's worth and it was more than pure entertainment. Same with The Last Airbender (Even though that was a cartoon series not manga/anime) , they were all pretty much enjoyable films. I would really like Hollywood to adapt more anime/manga into live action form. I'm saddened WB's Akira got canned because the concept was so amazing, just hoping the best for Ghost in the Shell. Already off the bat we have a visionary director attached to this project. Now we need a cast and a script. I have complete faith in the writer as in how The Cape was extremely well made. And really people why would you need an all Japanese cast? It's not like the original source material clearly set in stone IT HAS TO BE THIS WAY! Embrace the coming of change and a new vision. They are not going to be entirely copying the original but adapting the original for an audience that has yet to experience it. In order for that specific audience to relate to and understand the characters/story more. Now I don't think using all Japanese actors for an American film would work right. This is just their way of translating the story over to us and that is what I truly appreciate diving it into a different culture. Even look at the upcoming Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow which is technically an American adaptation of the Japanese manga All You Need is Kill, look how everyone was blown away by that trailer and they didn't even seem to remember at all. Biased opinions once again when we KNOW it's based off a Japanese manga or anime but when we don't know it's alright. That is the kind of translation they should do. There is nothing wrong with doing that at all. It's just a simple translation and transition to a different audience. It's not meant directly for the people that love yet but have yet to experience it due to those culture differences and barriers. Maybe they would go look at the book after they watch the film and see what they have missed out. Now you have a barrier that's broken, it's a way of communication to another distant society.
    • Yeah this has to be troll bate. You basically are admitting you have shitty taste in movies. My friend wrote Dragon Ball Evolution and even he knows that it's not true to the source material.
      • The creator of Dragonball is a genius. That movie was nothing like it.
      • TheOct8pus
        Dude, I hope you kicked your friend's arse, and are no longer his friend....
  • Brian Sleider
    Well I love the source material. But Don't we all know this will blow ass?
  • The real question here is what direction do you take the story in? Do you adapt the first anime, which actually robs you of the main protagonist in the final act and makes sequels very awkward or impossible? Hard to make a sequel about a heroine who achieves pure enlightenment. Or do you adapt the manga and keep it incredibly cerebral and a bit overly sexualized and thereby limit your audience? Or do you do what they're doing in Japan now and telling a unique take on the characters that removes the past history and rewrites in order to update it and give it a modern feel? Ghost in the Shell is a very large world and if it were up to me I wouldn't actually touch the ideas from the first film until I was ready to say goodbye to the franchise. It gives you a fitting end and the chance to explore the character of Batou or Togusa in a sequel.
  • Ben Caesar
    I hope this doesn't happen. They gonna ruin it. I hope Akira doesnt get made as well. Stupid americans ruining everything, like the office.
    • Boomboom
    • Boomboom
      This bigoted fool also posted this... "This is beyond disgusting. Chinese are not humans. They are as worse, if not more, than Indians..." "It just goes to show that women are now worthless. The only thing they were good at was being the kitchen making sandwiches, making babies, sucking c*** and nothing else."
  • TheOct8pus
    Ghost in the Shell is an amazing manga and anime film. The series, "Stand Alone Complex", was also really well written, but obviously not as tight as the film. That said, based on Hollywood's history with adapted anime, I don't have a good feeling about this. Live action feature length movies just can't achieve the cerebral depth of manga. Look at Hollywood's track record: Dragonball, The Last Airbender, Blood - the last Vampire, Fist of the North Star, The Guyver, Transformers (I feel like I had to throw that one in too), Speed Racer were all made into live action films that were just bad. And let's not forget the doomed "in the works" projects like: Cowboy Bebop, Akira and Voltron! You'll notice a pattern of horrible live action movies and abandoned causes. Maybe "Kite" with Sam L Jackson will be decent (haha!)
    • Boomboom
      Transformers? Sorry but that's not an Anime. Transformers as we know it is as much an American creation as it is Japanese.
      • Guest
        Transformers is as Japanese as uhm....raw fish pie!
      • TheOct8pus
        Transformers is as Japanese as uhm....raw fish pie!...but anyway, that's not my point. My point is that all these movies were lame....Transformers included.
        • Guest
          Transformers as we know it is barely Japanese at all and it started as two separate toy lines...not anime
          • TheOct8pus
            We're totally going off topic here, because this is not a Transformers debate...but apparently it has turned into one... Transformers toys were created in Japan. Even when Hasbro bought the distribution rights in 1984 and started writing an animated series, the Japanese animated it. So, even the American cartoon was made in Japan. Just go look it up.
          • Guest
            So I guess Apple is Chinese because the phones are made there? The characters and cartoons that we saw in the States were created in part by an American company. It's not Japanese in the same way that Ghost in the Shell is. It couldn't be any more Apples and Oranges.
          • Boomboom
            " Jim Shooter and Dennis O'Neil were hired by Hasbro to create the backstory; O'Neil also created the name "Optimus Prime."[5] Afterwards, Bob Budiansky created most of the Transformers characters, giving names and personalities to many unnamed Diaclone figures." Jim Shooter and Dennis O'Neil...yeah those names sound
          • TheOct8pus
            They based the characters off Japanese toys.
          • Guest
            Also, when the American series came to en end (after only 3 seasons), the Japanese took over and continued the series which was never released in the US. It was called Transformers: The Headmasters (or Toransufōmā za Heddomasutāzu)
          • TheOct8pus
            Also, when the American series came to en end (after only 3 seasons), the Japanese took over and continued the series which was never released in the US. It was called Transformers: The Headmasters (or Toransufōmā za Heddomasutāzu)
  • They just BETTER use the original soundtrack....
  • keith
    the problem with a live action ghost in the shell movie is that most of the animated movie is told through symbols and themes with very little plot and no true ending. The greatness of the animated movie was that it was so complex and unique but since then many movies and shows have stolen ideas from it and the current mainstream of movies are mostly simple and to the point action movies and not slow mind bending philosophical movies. If they decided to lean towards the casual movie watchers to get money then they would alienate the diehard fans. The movie itself would be a contradiction of its own idea, thinking and questioning things that we never question. It would no doubt be a flop and a disappointment.




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