Shang-Chi Director Destin Daniel Cretton To Make Live-Action Naruto Film

Destin Daniel Cretton

by James White |
Published on

Now that he's no longer directing Avengers: Insert New Name Here(formerly The Kang Dynasty), Shang-Chi's Destin Daniel Cretton is instead adding something else to his schedule. He's now attached to make a live-action film based on the hugely popular Naruto manga.

Lionsgate has had this one in development since at least 2015, with Avi and Ari Arad on board to produce alongside Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves' Jeremy Latcham.

Naruto, in case it has somehow slipped your attention, was created by Masashi Kishimoto. The coming-of-age story focuses on enthusiastic young ninja Naruto Uzumaki who has ambitions to be the leader of his village, but must also deal with possessing the spirit of a nine-tailed demon fox. Who among us, etc, etc…

Originally serialized in print form via Japan's weekly title Shonen Jump between 1999 to 2014, it has become one of the biggest mangas (the third best-selling in history, after One Piece and Dragon Ball), and has been adapted into a variety of animated series and movies.

Live-action has not been a forgiving medium for stories that have their roots in manga and anime, even now — for every success story such as One Piece, you have the more mixed fortunes of Avatar: The Last Airbender. But Naruto's creator has confidence in Cretton.

"When I heard of Destin’s attachment, it happened to be right after watching a blockbuster action film of his, and I thought he would be the perfect director for Naruto," said Kishimoto in a statement carried by The Hollywood Reporter. "After enjoying his other films and understanding that his forte is in creating solid dramas about people, I became convinced that there is no other director for Naturo. In actually meeting Destin, I also found him to be an open-minded director who was willing to embrace my input, and felt strongly that we would be able to cooperate together in the production process."

To switch back to the Marvel universe for a moment, Shang-Chi star Simu Liu has said recently that Cretton is still developing the sequel to that film, which we really hope happens, even if Liu's character will likely crop up in future team-up movies. And given the slower pace of the MCU these days, there's a good chance Cretton can squeeze Naruto in before the sequel begins shooting.

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