According to an article published by Tracking-Board, Lionsgate is talks to adapt the popular manga (Japanese comic) turned anime series Naruto into a live action film. The studio has allegedly already set eyes on Michael Gracey to direct the film. Gracey comes from a visual effects background who last worked on 2008's The Magician. Gracey seems to have made a return with The Greatest Showman on Earth set for 2016 and Elton John biopic Rocketman announced for production. His special effects background is bound to come in handy given the nature of the the action heavy story. Avi Arad who produced the Spideman films is said to be producing the film though Arad Productions.
For those who are unaware, Naruto is an enormously popular manga created by Masashi Kishimoto centered around the titular character Naruto. Readers are taken through his adventures as ninja while mixing in humor,drama and action. The spans 72 volumes and 700+ chapters and has an ongoing anime airing in Japan and being distributed worldwide. While it has countless fans, it also has plenty of jaded detractors.
Fans of any movie adaptation tend to be weary, but anime fans in particular dread Hollywood's involvement in Japanese story telling. The release of Dragon Ball Evolution was met with nearly universal hate and even the series creator Akira Toriyama was quoted saying, " What came out in the end was a movie I couldn't call Dragon Ball". Hollywood's ability to squander solid opportunities isn't limited to anime. Remember the first American Godzilla film? Yeah, I wish I didn't either. This along with the American cartoon inspired by anime, Avatar The Last Airbender , serve as examples of movie projects helmed by people who just do not understand what makes the source material special. Anime fans have lived in fear of terrible anime adaptations with Cowboy Bebop and Akira constantly being mentioned as potential live action films.
It seems that a recent resurgence in anime might be Hollywood's attempt to mine new sources beyond superhero comics in the west. Adaptations for Death Note and Ghost in the Shell are also in the works which left many anime fans groaning when Scarlett Johansson was given the role of the Japanese character Motoko Kusanagi when there plenty of talented Asian American actresses who could have fit the role.
Whatever the fate of the Naruto film might be, fans just hope that if an American version is made that it will at least be ok. Pretty low expectations, but the past has taught fans to be cautious if not just downright pessimistic.