If there is one franchise that has taken movie fans on a roller coaster ride through development hell it’s been the live-action adaptation of the acclaimed anime series Cowboy Bebop. The film took a big step forward today as 20th Century Fox has tapped director Matthew Vaughn to helm the project. Vaughn will also be co-writing the script with longtime collaborator Jane Goldman. Space Cowboys can learn more about this exciting announcement after the break.
What started as a rumor back in 2008 is now becoming reality. Last we heard about the Cowboy Bebop movie was that Keanu Reeves admitted in an Reddit AMA that things were moving forward without him. And last year, series director Shinichiro Watanabe stated that there were a lot of “Hollywood problems” surrounding the production.
Deadline broke this story earlier today stating that its sources close to the film are now looking toward Vaughn and Goldman to fine tune and revise the treatment originally scribed by Peter Craig (The Town; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Part 2). Reeves did state in his AMA that the script was “amazing,” but forecasted to cost quite a shiny penny.
In my opinion, Vaughn is a wonderful choice to direct this film. His keen eye for action, dark comedy sensibility, and adept ability in bringing colorful characters to life is what Cowboy Bebop needs in order to succeed. The proof is in X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman: The Secret Service. All exhibiting clear examples of his understanding of genre films and fun entertainment.
For the uninitiated, Cowboy Bebop takes place in the year 2071 and follows a group of space bounty hunters caught in an assortment of hijinks as they try to make an “honest” living. The crew of the spaceship Bebop consists of Spike Spiegel (the role Reeves was set to play), a man with a dark past closely linked to a dangerous crime syndicate and a mysterious woman named Julia; Jet Black, a resourceful, former Inter-Solar System Police officer; Faye Valentine, a con artist with amnesia with no memory to her past; Edward Wong, an eccentric girl highly skilled in the art of hacking; and Ein, a Welsh Corgi who has been genetically-engineered with human-like intelligence.
To get a sense of the tone of the series, check out the opening sequence from Cowboy Bebop: The Movie from 2001. It easily encapsulates the humor, action, and drama in just a few short minutes:
Cowboy Bebop is one of my favorite things in this world. It practically introduced me to the limitless possibilities of what anime could be, and what fantastic storytelling and character development looked like. The music alone, especially the theme song, is a treat to thine ears. Take a listen to “Tank!”, written by Yoko Kanno and performed by Seatbelts:
It comes as no surprise that 20th Century Fox would want to jump start this prolonged venture. Earlier this year, it was confirmed that Scarlett Johansson would be leading in DreamWorks’ live-action Ghost in the Shell, a heralded anime movie from the ’90s. Later this year, Japanese film distributor Toho will be releasing a two-part, live-action adaptation of the wildly popular Attack on Titan.
No release date has been set for Cowboy Bebop, but Sunrise Animation will still be closely tied to the project with studio president Kenji Uchida, Shinichiro Watanabe, series creator Keiko Nobumoto, and series producer Masahiko Minami linked to the production.
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