Prepare to relive your childhood manga days, because Lionsgate has just secured the rights to a live-action Naruto adaptation, and the company is moving forward with production.
The original manga is about the eponymous young boy who grows up in a ninja society. Unfortunately, an attack by a demon fox 12 years prior to the start of the series forced the village elders to seal the demon within Naruto, causing him to be ostracized by the village. It’s because of this that Naruto vows to become the village’s leader so that the villagers will come to accept him.
Naruto ran for 15 years in publication, one of the longest for a manga series. The franchise also spawned a series of tie-ins like animated shows and movies, toys, and video games. In a tweet Saturday, Shonen Jump, the Japanese manga magazine that published the series has announced that the live-action film from Lionsgate is moving forward.
Michael Gracey, the director of the live-action adaptation, is best know for his special effects work on the SyFy series The Magicians. Naruto will be his directorial debut.
The plan for a live-action Naruto film have been rumored since 2015, but series creator Masashi Kishimoto finally confirmed the news at Jump Festa, the annual Shonen Jump expo, revealing that Kishimoto will also be involved with the production.
Previously, the closest thing to a live-action Naruto film has been a stageplay adaptation in Japan, featuring an all live cast. With Lionsgate producing Naruto however, it will be joining similar manga film adaptations like Ghost in the Shell, and Netflix’s Death Note. Both films have attracted controversy over accusations of white-washing their Japanese cast for American actors.
Naruto’s live-action film is currently early in its production cycle and has no set release date.