When Lionsgate got the rights to adapt Naruto into a live-action film, many tagged The Greatest Showman’s Michael Gracey to direct it. However, a few years have already passed by, and we still haven’t heard any more news. But now, as Gracey talked to Collider about The Greatest Showman’s Blu-ray release, he also talked about Naruto.
In the interview, the director told Collider that “it’s a project he’d rather not do at all than do a disservice to it”. He’s known to be quite a Naruto fan in fact, and he’s also praised mangaka Masashi Kishimoto.
“I don’t know [if it will be my next film], to be honest. You know Kishimoto, who created the original series, he’s just a genius. So many Hollywood adaptations of really popular manga series just don’t get it right, and for me what was really important was that if I was gonna do Naruto, I wanted to actually work with Kishimoto and get a script to a stage where he would look at it and be excited about realizing it. Because no one knows the world better than the person who created it.”
This means that if Kishimoto doesn’t like the idea, he’s not going on board either. And if he doesn’t like the script, and that means that it makes him not want to direct it more. He also added:
“So for me, as it stands, we’re still working on the script. Because until that script is at a level that I’m excited about, I have no interest in destroying an amazing franchise, as has happened before. But I think the great thing is that everyone involved, from Lionsgate to the producers, are all of the same mind. Everyone knows how precious this property is and to me it’s incredibly exciting, and I love the work that I’ve gotten to do on it to date. At this stage, no one is going to go into production until we’ve got a script that excites everyone. So whether it’s my next one or not, I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.”
This means that we need a very good script in order to get the director that the studio wants. And not only that, but it has to have Kishimoto himself involved. Well, with the failures of many anime-based films, who can blame him, right? And as of writing, it seems that the live-action Hollywood Naruto film is still in production limbo.