Now hear this: a live-action Naruto movie may be coming soon from Lionsgate. That’s right, the lionhearted studio is reportedly in negotiations for the film rights for Naruto—the incredibly popular manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto—and they’ve already tapped a director for the adaptation.
And that man is Michael Gracey. Primarily known as a visual effects specialist, Gracey’s transition to helmer has been a long time in the works. He’s also slated to direct a P.T. Barnum biography, The Greatest Showman on Earth for Fox, in addition to developing Rocketman (an Elton John biopic), and Laini Taylor’s fantasy novel trilogy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
The Naruto manga follows the title character, Naruto Uzumaki, as he follows his dream of becoming Hokage, the strongest ninja in his village and the leader of his people. Naruto is the third best-selling manga series of all time, and it has spawned two anime series and ten anime films in addition to video games, action figures, statues, and other collectibles. An 11th anime film—focusing on Naruto’s son, Boruto—will be released on August 7th in Japan.
Last year, Kishimoto brought the Naruto manga to an end, but that has done little to affect the constant demand from Naruto fans for more adventures in that world. When Kishimoto was recently asked about a sequel, he replied, “I can’t. Please let me rest now.”
Former Marvel executive and executive producer of the Spider-Man films, Avi Arad and his son, Ari Arad are also attached to Lionsgate’s Naruto adaptation. A potential start date has not been announced.
Naruto fans, who would you cast in the Naruto live-action movie? Do you think anime adaptations are a good idea for Hollywood?
Share your casting picks in the comment section below!