After becoming the biggest international anime film success of all time, the next stop for creator Makoto Shinkai’s "your name." is a live-action American remake. Since the project’s initial announcement in September of 2017, Hollywood A-lister J J Abrams has been attached as a producer, and now the film has a director too: Marc Webb.
The 44-year-old Webb is perhaps best known for helming 2012’s critically underwhelming "Amazing Spider-Man" and its 2014 sequel, but his more significant directing credit comes from farther back in his career with 2009’s "500 Days of Summer."
While it may not have the science-fiction elements of "your name.", Webb’s work in "500 Days of Summer" shows that he can tell a compelling romantic story while jumping back and forth between different points on the narrative’s timeline, and those talents could lend themselves very well to "your name." in which the perspective is constantly switching as the male and female leads swap bodies. Webb also has extensive experience as a music video director, and considering that the "your name." anime contains multiple musical montages, maybe he’ll get to put those skills to use too.
Speaking of "your name." characters, the live-action film will indeed have the “Western viewpoint” that scriptwriter Eric Heisserer claims the Japanese rights holders want. While the anime "your name." is centered on a boy living in Tokyo (named Taki) and a girl living in the mountainous countryside of Gifu Prefecture (Mitsuha), the Hollywood version will instead be about a boy from Chicago and a Native American girl in a rural community.
The introduction of different ethnic backgrounds is an element that wasn’t present in the homogeneously Japanese anime, but Mitsuha’s background being steeped in ancient Japanese cultural traditions is both a major motivation for her actions and a critical plot point, so perhaps the American side of the production felt making the female lead Native American was the closest equivalent for an American setting.
Genki Kawamura, who served as a producer on the "your name." anime and will also do so on the live-action film, issued a statement saying:
“We are excited that Marc Webb, our first choice for director, will be directing the movie. He is an expert at telling love stories, such as '500 Days of Summer,' and I am convinced that his fresh perspective on 'your name.' will take it to new heights.”
Shinkai himself also commented on Webb’s announced involvement through his Twitter account, saying: “Marc Webb has been announced as the director for the Hollywood 'your name.' and I’m so happy! I love him as a director.”
Shinkai apparently isn’t just being polite, either. In the same tweet, he says that he’s snuck an homage to "500 Days of Summer" into his upcoming anime film "Weathering with You/Tenki no Ko," and hopes that Webb’s fans will enjoy it should they watch the animated feature, which is scheduled for a 2019 release. The Hollywood "your name." still has no projected release date.
Source: Livedoor News/Oricon News via Otakomu
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