The upcoming Hollywood adaptation of the anime film Your Name appears to still be chugging along, and screenwriter Eric Heisserer has now said that the Japanese rights holders specifically want an American live-action adaptation rather than a Japanese live-action adaptation.
In an interview with /Film about Bird Box, the recent Netflix post-apocalyptic horror film on which he also served as writer, Heisserer answered a couple questions specifically about his work on adapting Your Name for Hollywood, and his responses are liable to be divisive despite being ultimately not about how he's adapting it.
Specifically, he told the outlet that he "found it an interesting challenge" because of the desires of the Japanese rights holders. According to him, they specifically wanted an American live-action version of the film. "You have to find the best iteration of that story based on the fact that they want an American live-action version of the film," he said. "They stated if they wanted a Japanese live-action version, they would just do it themselves. But they want to see it through the lens of a western viewpoint."
When asked whether the rights holders had any concern about doing this after the poor reception of the Scarlett Johansson-starring, live-action Ghost in the Shell, Heisserer claimed that they had a number of choices, and chose his pitch. "I can say that mine was not a Ghost in the Shell-like version," the writer added.
For those unfamiliar, Makoto Shinkai's Your Name is one of the most successful anime features of all time. The 2016 film outperformed iconic films like Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away and certainly has universal appeal, but is uniquely Japanese. It tells the story of two teenagers who discover they can swap bodies and must work together -- despite being separated by time and space -- to prevent an impending disaster, and it features distinctive touches that center the story culturally as Japanese.
When it was announced in late 2017 that Your Name would be receiving a Hollywood live-action adaptation, concerns about whitewashing cropped up left and right. Though Your Name director Makoto Shinkai said he was "looking forward" to the adaptation when it was announced, he seemed somewhat less interested in later statements.
"While I'm looking forward to how it will go," he reportedly said in November 2017, "I also think how it will grow is up to himself [the film] because it has already left my hand."
What do you think of this news? Do you think it spells trouble for the adaptation, or that the Japanese rights holders have faith in it? Let us know in the comments!