The Anime Starter Pack for Hollywood
To no one’s surprise, the American adaptation of the 1995 classic Ghost In The Shell flopped hard over the weekend. With a $110 million budget, the film pulled in a rather pathetic $19 million with no sight of breaking even for Paramount Pictures. To give you an idea of how bad it is, The Boss Baby was also released and has raked in $50 million: a movie that shares just about the same ratings across the board on Rotten Tomatoes and didn’t have the same promotion behind it. This doesn’t bode well for the future of more live action animes to be done stateside, despite the fact the trend today seems to be Hollywood looking to milk out these franchises in hopes to make the big buck. Get Out’s Jordan Peele is currently in heavy discussion to be the director of Akira (not totally against this but I would have chosen someone else) and James Wan already on board for Robotech (good choice).
So no lie, I was one of the very rare folks who was holding onto the slightest of hopes GiTS would actually be aiiiight. Yes, there is a history of these types of movies being horrific: Speed Racer, Last Airbender, and the travesty known as Dragonball Evolution. (Who the hell gave this movie the green light?) But being the forever optimist that I hate to admit about myself, I figured at some point an anime can be done correctly right? Got to play the numbers game and keep releasing movies and eventually something gotta hit. Woooo boy, was I wrong as shit about Ghost. I can only blame myself for this. To its credit, the casting I don’t really mind. If I had to cast a white woman for Major for the sake of white-wash, there would have been plenty of choices before I went with Scarlett Johansson but she did okay. Pilou Asbaek as Batou was pretty good in his role, as was Takeshi Kitano as Chief Aramaki. The real problem with this movie was the screenwriters have again demonstrated that Hollywood in general gives no fucks about the source material and it shows in the storyline. I can go on and on in an in depth interview, but this isn’t what I’m here for today.
I’m lending my services and am ready to help the powers that be to let them know that you can make a bankable live action anime. I have even gone as far as provided the directors and actors/actresses who can in fact do the movies justice AND have the movie execs keep their day jobs. Apparently, these guys don’t realize that diversity is huge for viewers in 2017. Don’t let the Trump MAGA Hat Brigade fool you. White people don’t want to see their faces on screen all the time. They already run the table of life anyways. But do me a favorite please, movie business guy. Do remember to credit me and bring me on the set for further consultation on these matters.
This one should be a no brainer and the fact this movie hasn’t been done yet tells me how out of touch these old folks are. One of the biggest obstacles anime still has to overcome is the fact that it is for everyone. There are plenty of mangas that are plagued with tropes that just doesn’t work well with U.S. viewers. Enter the Bebop gang. It is sci-fi meets western and it deals with a group of bounty hunters who work with the Inter Solar System Police to set up contracts in which they hunt down criminals throughout the galaxy and bring them in alive for a reward. Easy enough to bring to American shores right? There is even a romance element in regards to the Julia character whose relationship with Spike Spiegel can work. Vicious provides the audience with the cool antagonist that if done right can be among the all time great villains.
The hardest thing to accomplish for this movie is the subtleness Cowboy Bebop had and transferring it to the big screen; it was more character driven and pacing is very key. Because of this, the soundtrack for this series is absolutely perfect for setting a mood during the course of the series. For this reason, I feel Wes Anderson is the right guy for the job. His movies have a great narrative style and have the right eye behind the camera. Who would play Spike? None other than Keanu Reeves! It was reported already he was very interested in doing this movie (basically the only one). Get The Rock to play Jet Black, Kiersey Clemons as Ed, and Anne Hathaway as Faye Valentine. Resurrect this movie from pre production hell and let’s go.
I’ll be the first to admit that this particular anime I wouldn’t even rank in my all time personal favorites. Cyberpunk in general has a better selection of franchises such as Ghost In The Shell and Psycho Pass. The problem is that as groundbreaking as GiTS was in its time, it isn’t the movie you want to be done here right away. It takes place in the distant future Japan, so you see why the movie has gotten the white wash backlash now right? After re-watching the Armitage III OVA series this weekend, this would one actually has blockbuster potential. Earth has been overpopulated and has led to the movement to colonize Mars. Easy, easy money to do this and it gets better. Women empowerment is huge in today’s world and this movie does deliver that in the name of Naomi Armitage, a young woman officer who teams up with her new partner Ross Syllibus and they are assigned to track down René D'anclaude, who wants to eliminate “the Thirds”: cyborgs who are identical to humans.
Who will be playing our heroine in this movie? At first I was thinking Margot Robbie who is certainly popular enough to put butts in the seats. But if you really want to do the right thing, Emily Blunt is the candidate for this movie. Directing this would be none other than Denis Villenueve (the best director in the game currently in my humble opinion). Blunt and Villenueve already have worked together in Sicario and have had success. Villenueve is etching out his legacy as the go to sci fi director in Hollywood with Bladerunner 2049 and Dune in the works so adding his lens would only make sense. Ross Syllibus is a hard person to cast due to his size, so I could cheat and put the Rock here also, but I’ll go with James Franco instead. (Okay I’m lying. I’m putting The Rock again)
The Big O
This is a fairly forgotten neo-noir mecha series that was aired on Toonami. Matter fact, it only got a second season because it resonated with us here and forced Sunrise to re-up. Tell me if this sounds similiar to a story you have heard before. Known as a part time negotiator and full time womanizer, Roger Smith works with Chief of Police Dan Dutsun of Paradigm City to solve cases regarded the inhabitants of the city that have no prior memories of “The Event”. As he becomes more involved with his clients, he realizes that things are not what they seem and he sets out on saving the city from crime. The show deals with philosophical, morality, mystery, and other dark themes. If you guessed Batman at any time, you understand why The Big O is on this list. Roger even has a butler in the name of Norman. Bruce Wayne with a huge robot at his disposal. It’s pretty simple yet effective.
Christopher Nolan can bring that atmospheric and eeriness from his Dark Knight trilogy and make this thing work. Rather than cast Christian Bale here, I’ll go with Jake Gyllenhaal to be Roger Smith. His role in Nightcrawler demonstrated he can pull off the grit that is needed for this movie. Probably the more riskier choice on my list, but everyone loves Batman so I’m willing to bet the right people behind this one can make it pop big here.
A few other animes I had in mind that can work in Hollywood:
Legend Of The Galactic Heroes - Star Trek space opera meets Game of Thrones politics. There is a lot of material that can be covered here. HBO better get going on the next big series epic.
Psycho Pass - cyberpunk wins again. You can’t lose with this style at all
One Punch Man - This has comedy potential and is a different take on the superhero genre that is the current craze in box office
Thank me with a movie producer job now, Hollywood. You’re welcome.