Rupert Sanders – the British film director who gained fame for his efforts directing Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth in “Snow White and the Huntsman” – has now been officially tapped by DreamWorks to direct the Hollywood remake of Japanese anime cult favorite “Ghost in the Shell“. There have been a lot of rumors surrounding a live action remake of Mamoru Oshii’s hugely popular animated feature film, but it seems like this one is actually pushing through.
A lot of anime fans will have their antennas twitching at this piece of news, especially since Oshii’s masterpiece is considered as hallowed ground by the most ardent otaku (that is, hardcore Japanese anime and manga fans). The animated film, spawned from Shirow Masamune’s cyberpunk manga of the same title, has actually been updated with better audio and modern CG graphics, but the most hardcore fans still point to the original as the classic. The live-action remake will be based on a screenplay written by William Wheeler, with Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul in the role of producers, and will most likely stick to the “Puppet Master” storyline akin to the original animated film. Hollywood has had very little success in remaking Japanese anime and game franchise features, as they tend to skew from the original storyline (see “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” in 2001). As Japanese manga and anime now have a global fanbase, it would probably be wise for DreamWorks to stay within frame with this one.
Stories of Hollywood’s plan to remake “Ghost in the Shell” first gained traction when it was reported in 2008 that DreamWorks had acquired the rights to produce the live-action adaptation. Most fans had actually given up on the project, with no visible progress at that point. But with this movie’s screenplay reportedly finished and the director committed, the “Ghost in the Shell” remake appears to finally be moving forward. Now, it is a whole other story if the remake will live up to the glory of its predecessor. We sure hope Mr. Sanders gives it a good try.