The success of One Piece’s live-action Netflix series means western studios are going to be looking at other popular shonen anime to bring to life. My Hero Academia is already on the docket over at Netflix, and we got one for Saint Seiya (or Knights of the Zodiac earlier this year. Next up might be none other than, drumroll please…Naruto.
Earlier in the week, Variety published a list of screenwriters to be on the lookout for. One of the people named was Tasha Huo, and in listing her upcoming projects—which include Netflix’s anime series for Tomb Raider, Prime Video’s Critical Role: Mighty Nein, and the upcoming Red Sonja film starring Matilda Lutz—the outlet revealed Huo is developing a Naruto script for Lionsgate. That’s supposedly next on her to-do list, though there wasn’t much to glean from her section beyond the fact that she’s working on it.
Still, the fact that a Hollywood Naruto movie is even happening is pretty noteworthy in and of itself. The series, originally from manga artist Mashashi Kishimoto, stars the titular teenager Naruto Uzumaki, an orphan who resides in the village of Konoha as its outcast owing to the fact that he’s been holding the spirit of a demonic fox that attacked the village years ago inside of his body since the day he was born. This isn’t something he or other kids his age are aware of, and he’s mainly focused on winning everyone’s respect by building up his ninja skills to eventually become Konoha’s Hokage (village leader). And in working with his teammates Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha, the three get caught up in a lot of trouble, including terrorist attacks, scientist snake men, and vengeful family grudges.
With an anime adaptation that was boosted in part thanks to Toonami and some really great openings throughout its run, Naruto became extremely popular. It, alongside Bleach and One Piece, make up the Big Three, referring to how they were the biggest (and in the case of One Piece, long-running) series in Shonen Jump during the mid-2000s. On its own, Naruto spawned a number of anime films, countless video games, and the sequel series Boruto, which focuses on his son and is headed up by Kishimoto and artist Mikio Ikemoto.
Lionsgate has been trying to get a Naruto movie out the door since 2015 with the help of Avi Arad. Back then, director Michael Gracey (The Greatest Showman) was attached, as well Kishimoto to help co-develop the movie. Things with Gracey fell through and we’ve not heard about it since—but don’t be surprised if that changes in the next year or two.
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