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Lionsgate is making a live-action Naruto movie


Lionsgate has announced that it’s making a live-action movie based on the popular anime and manga Naruto, in which armies of ninjas battle each other through the ancient, stealthy arts of generating giant explosions and turning into logs. The film will be directed by Michael Gracey, a visual effects supervisor whose major directorial accomplishment to date is getting attached to projects that never seem to actually come out. (He’s currently set to helm a P.T. Barnum biopic with the suddenly very busy Tom Hardy.)

The Naruto manga has been running for 18 years now in Japan, chronicling the story of its well-meaning ninja doofus hero and his slow maturation into a formidable warrior for peace. The series has spawned two different animated shows, which aired in the States on Cartoon Network, and an abundance of video games and other ancillary materials. Now, Naruto will have to face his most dangerous threat yet: the accusations of M. Night Shyamalan-esque white-washing that tend to get lobbed at adaptations of Japanese media that don’t cast primarily Asian actors in starring roles. (Sure, last year’s Edge Of Tomorrow managed to get away with it, but that’s probably because it was both a very loose adaptation of its source material, and because there aren’t kids running around on school playgrounds in America wearing All You Need Is Kill T-shirts the way they are with Naruto.)


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