for all you bebop fans out there.
he Japanese animation studio Sunrise has officially announced the plans for a live-action film adaptation of its Cowboy Bebop science-fiction anime franchise. The American film studio Twentieth Century Fox, the production company 3 Arts Entertainment, and Sunrise itself are collaborating on the project. Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, A Scanner Darkly, Johnny Mnemonic) is slated to star. Joshua Long is acting as a production supervisor, and Erwin Stoff, a film producer who worked closely with Reeves on The Matrix and A Scanner Darkly, is also attached. The associate producers are Sunrise President Kenji Uchida, the original Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe, and the original series script supervisor Keiko Nobumoto. The Sunrise studio itself and Masahiko Minami (former Sunrise producer and BONES studio co-founder) are both acting as production consultants.
Stoff first revealed the existence of the proposed project last July to the IFMagazine.com entertainment website after the parties "just signed it the other day." Reeves confirmed the plans and his intentions to play the lead role with MTV Movies Blog last month. He also indicated that the preliminary story outline partly draws inspiration from the "Red Eye" storyline from the first episode of the animated series. Reeves and Watanabe had previously worked together on the "Kid's Story" segment of The Animatrix animated video anthology.
Watanabe's original Cowboy Bebop series follows the motley crew of the spaceship Bebop as it travels throughout the solar system in search of the next job. The anime distributor Bandai Entertainment and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block released the 1998 television series in the United States, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the subsequent 2001 animated movie. The anime was also adapted into two separate manga series, and Tokyopop released both manga series in North America.
3 Arts Entertainment producer Erwin Stoff (The Matrix, I am Legend, Kings) has told the iFMagazine.com website that the live-action Cowboy Bebop film in development will not be an origin story. "We start with [the main character, bounty hunter Spike Spiegel], when he is in his present life already." He also emphasized that the producers began the project by meeting with Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of Sunrise's original Cowboy Bebop science-fiction anime series. "He will be the first guy to read a script when it's done. We'll discuss directors with him." While screenwriter Peter Craig has yet to finish the script, Stoff hopes to make the film next year and expects it will have a "totally multi-ethnic cast."
The iFMagazine.com site first reported on the film proposal last July after the parties "just signed it the other day." Last month, actor Keanu Reeves expressed his interest in starring, and initially indicated that the story will be partly based on the "Red Eye" storyline from the first episode of the anime series. Sunrise officially announced the project last week with Twentieth Century Fox, 3 Arts Entertainment, Reeves, and Stoff. Sunrise President Kenji Uchida, Watanabe, and the original series script supervisor Keiko Nobumoto will act as associate producers, while Sunrise and Masahiko Minami (former Sunrise producer and BONES studio co-founder) will consult on the production.