Live-Action Naruto Developing At Lionsgate

FX man Michael Gracey set to direct

Live-Action Naruto Developing At Lionsgate

by Owen Williams |
Published on

Western, English-language, live-action adaptations of Japanese manga haven't so far fared terribly well. Things like Fist Of The North Star and Dragonball: Evolution are probably best forgotten, while Akira** can't catch a break, talk of a Shane Black Death Note went nowhere until Adam Wingard picked it up recently, and we haven't even heard much about Dreamworks' **Ghost In The Shell lately. Nevertheless, the vast Naruto franchise is the latest to enter American development, with Lionsgate negotiating for the film rights, and Michael Gracey in the frame to direct.

First published in 1997, Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto currently stretches to 72 volumes of manga and 220 anime episodes. Not including spin-offs like the ten anime movies. The manga has more than 200 million copies in print, and is the third best-selling in history, after One Piece and Dragon Ball.

Obviously the story is far too vast to summarise quickly, but the basic premise revolves around the adolescent Naruto Uzumaki, who dreams of becoming his community's leader and ninja protector.

Avi and Ari Arad (late of Sony's Spider-Man franchise, along with many other pre-Marvel Studios Marvel properties) are producing through their Arad Productions banner, with Erik Feig, Geoff Shaevitz and Kelly O’Malley overseeing for Lionsgate. Gracey is a visual effects man turned director. He's yet to make his debut in his new career, but has been attached to Daughter Of Smoke And Bone and the Jim Henson biopic The Muppet Man.

Very early days yet, and as we said, live-action manga has, to date, not had a strong track record in Hollywood. But we will, of course, keep you posted.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us