One of the longest running and most popular anime series, Naruto, is set to receive its own big screen, live-action Hollywood adaptation.
On Saturday, Shonen Jump — a magazine dedicated to Japanese manga and anime — confirmed that Lionsgate had secured the rights to the franchise for a feature-length film. Michael Gracey, who is best known for his special effects work on shows like The Magicians, will make his directorial debut with the project.
Live-Action Hollywood movie for Naruto announced! From Lionsgate, Michael Gracey directing.— Shonen Jump (@shonenjump) December 17, 2016
Naruto follows a young boy by the same name who has been ostracized by the people in his village for an event that took place 12 years before the series begins. In an attempt to seal a vicious demonic fox away forever, the leader of this particular village gave his life to seal the fox inside the body of an infant, Naruto. Now, Naruto wants nothing more than to become one of the most powerful and respected ninjas in the world while also being accepted by those around him.
Rumors of the Naruto movie happening date back to July 2015, but it wasn’t until this weekend at an anime convention in Japan that Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto confirmed the project was moving forward. The film is currently in pre-production, but there isn’t an estimated release window at this time.
Naruto joins other popular anime series, like Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, that are getting their own English-language, live-action adaptations from major Hollywood studios. Death Note was originally supposed to be produced by Warner Bros., but the company ended up selling the rights over to Netflix. Ghost in the Shell is set to be released in March, and stars Scarlett Johansson as main character, Major Motoko Kusanagi.
There are currently 220 episodes from the first four seasons of the Naruto anime available for people to stream on Hulu.