Unless you’re a fan of Japanese anime/manga, you would be surprised about just how many of these Asian comics/cartoons have heavily influenced some of the biggest blockbusters (and no, I’m talking about that dodgy Eastern European movie with the tentacles you saw). And if there’s one Japanese title that left a huge mark on Hollywood, in particular several high profile sci-fi classics like The Matrix, it’s Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell.
And now it’s finally getting it’s own Hollywood feature film, and Rupert Sanders will be the man who makes it happen.
Dreamworks announced on Saturday morning (via Deadline) that the Snow White and the Huntsman director has signed a deal to helm the long in-development adaptation, which will be getting a script from The Reluctant Fundamentalist screenwriter William Wheeler.
Shirow’s original manga was set in a dystopian future where the line between human and machine has become severely blurred. Most humans boast some type of cybernetic augmentation, from simple eye upgrades to some people who are nothing more than a human brain and nervous system in a very powerful and capable cyborg shell. One of the latter is Major Motoko Kusanagi, who along with her partners Batou and Ishikawa are part of Section 9, an elite government group who are tasked with tracking down and eliminating cyber-terrorism threats. When a hacker known as the Puppet Master starts hacking cybernetically enhanced people and forcing them to commit crimes, without their knowledge as he even implants false memories into them, Major Kusanagi are sent to investigate and find themselves drawn into a much larger conspiracy.
The manga was most famously adapted to an anime feature film in 1995 by director Mamoru Oshii, and became an instant cult classic as its iconic cyberpunk world and investigations of deep themes like what it means to be human, became the inspiration for not only many sci-fi properties, but several high profile filmmakers like James Cameron and Steven Spielberg. And it was due to Spielberg’s love of the property that Dreamworks acquired the feature film rights years ago, but hasn’t been able to get it into production until now. During that time, Ghost in the Shell also spawned an anime film sequel, two anime TV series, an enhanced HD re-release and a couple of video games.
As Sanders has several films currently in the pipeline, it’s uncertain when he will be tackling this though, which should give Wheeler plenty of time to polish the script. At this point though, it’s unknown just which of the abovementioned properties would be the basis for Wheeler’s script (though he may just draw elements from all of them) with the only info we have being that Dreamworks intends to make this a big budget 3D feature. Sanders already has some experience with that in Snow White and the Huntsman, and while I think that film suffered from a bit of miscasting (as in they cast a frowning potato to play “the fairest in the land”), Sanders certainly showed that he knows how to shoot CG-heavy action well. While it boasts some insanely impressive action beats, with it’s frequent philosophising and measured procedural approach, Ghost calls for a far darker and much more mature feel than the frothy fairytale of Snow White, but given the right script, I think that Sanders can make it work. If he casts Kristen Stewart as Kusanagi though, I’ll be the one hacking his brain. With a spade.
Last Updated: January 27, 2014