And now other film companies are jumping on the Japanese manga bandwagon. Deadline reports Kamala Films have acquired the rights to 1970s Kazuo Koike-created Lone Wolf and Cub, and hired screenwriters David and Janet Peoples to adapt, and eventually Justin Lin to direct.
The iconic manga centers around Ogami Itto, a top executioner working for the shogun in feudal Japan, whose rivals murder his wife and frame him for a crime. This sends him into exile and he becomes an assassin for hire while toting along his three-year-old son and plotting revenge on those who wronged him.
Though the talent assembled so far for the film is impressive, it's hard to imagine that this attempt at an American adaptation will be met with less scrutiny than its predecessors. To start with, casting is always at the forefront of everyone's minds. The original manga is set in ancient Japan, but financial backers will surely want a bankable Hollywood movie star in the movie – and bankable Asian movie stars are far and few in between. An ancient Japanese tale starring some white guy will ruffle feathers, but so will moving the story to America, the way Akira filmmakers had planned to.
Either way, the filmmakers have an uphill battle ahead of them and fans are not likely to give them any benefit of the doubt, so they better figure out how to do it right. If that's even possible.