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Over the years, the phrases ‘live-action’ and ‘anime’ have become unlikely enemies. A slew of underwhelming film adaptation burned the fandom awhile back, but the medium refuses to give up on its live-action aspiration. Films, TV series, and more continue to searching for the perfect adaptation recipe, but those aren’t the only avenues out there.
No, live-action anime plays are very popular abroad, and Japan’s next Naruto project has cast its leads.
As you can see below, Weekly Shonen Jump revealed the stars cast in the Naruto Kabuki play. Minosuke Bandou has been cast as Naruto while Hayato Nakamura oversees Sasuke. The pair are vetted actors within the Kabuki community, and fans have plenty to say about the castings.
Naruto Kabuki actors: Minosuke Bandou as Naruto and Hayato Nakamura as Sasuke. pic.twitter.com/EeX8772QCL
— YonkouProductions (@YonkouProd) 2018年3月30日
The adaptation of Naruto anime into Naruto live action is something that is being taken seriously by the fans. That’s why film producers also making sure that everything is perfect. But let’s all face it, only a handful of anime live adaptations gets a “somewhat acceptable” reactions from the viewers. Big franchises like Naruto are harder to do and the more epic it would fail, the greater the backlash.
That is why The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey is very cautious and puts a lot of effort preparing for Lionsgate’s planned live-action Naruto film. His directorial debut musical drama film has been a box office success and is still gaining a lot of it after its premiere. Lionsgate is trying to replicate that success into breathing a new life for the beloved Naruto characters. How is Gracey trying to wrap things up properly?
After Shonen Jump revealed Gracey’s involvement in the movie, the director revealed that the staff is still working on the script, even after two years passed from the announcement of the adaptation. It is not that the staffs are slacking or something, but it is revealed that the script is meticulously being made. The team is working hard to avoid the curse that is plaguing Holywood adaptation of anime franchises ever since the day it became a thing. The good thing about this is that Masashi Kishimoto is giving his help for this movie.
“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 minds. ” Gracey stated in an interview.
If the scripting is hard enough, it would be harder when the casting comes. Naruto’s character is hard enough to replicate in real life, and with other complex characters in tow, this might be the hardest state of the film production. Casting an actor might make the film great or kill it. Not to mention how the production team will find a village that can house the great Konoha.
Naruto is a manga first released in Shonen Jump in 1999. It spanned into three anime, numerous games, and movies throughout the years. The story follows Naruto (and later his son, Boruto) in the journey to becoming the greatest ninja.