Mandalay Pictures goes into Full Metal Panic mode

fullmetalpanic-animeWith the confirmation of the news that “Cowboy Bebop” was going to be turned into a live-action movie (with Keanu Reeves producing and starring in it), it was only a matter of time before we got another confirmation of a live-action rights purchase.

From The Hollywood Reporter comes news that production studio Manadalay Pictures (Into the Blue, Sleepy Hollow) has picked up the film rights to Full Metal Panic!, a series of novels written by Shoji Gatoh. The story revolves around a male teenage anti-terrorist commando who is forced to go undercover at a high school to protect a high school girl who has mysterious mystical powers.

These powers are so mysterious, by the way, that I couldn’t even understand what they were supposed to do the first time I saw the anime series that was spawned from the books and released by ADV Films.

Word is that Zac Efron is in talks to star, and I must say that comparing and contrasting Efron’s talents with those of Chris Patton, the voice actor who dubbed the main character’s voice in all of the anime versions to date is a funny little exercise, mostly because I’ve worked with Patton before and remember the first conversation I ever had with him quite vividly.

There’s no studio yet, and no screenwriter or director yet, but since Mandalay Pictures has a “first look” deal with Universal Pictures, the odds are good that this deal can move forward because the FMP! story is strong enough to transfer over into a mainstream audience and not lose the appeal of the original.

And though I may have spent many years toiling as an otaku-journalist, I’m still realistic enough to understand that in order to get the movie made, they’d have to move the high school from Japan to the States and cast American-sounding actors, and I’m actually okay with that. I like the idea of Efron as the star, but I am praying that they do not get another Disney tweenie to be cast opposite him.

Also, thanks to Transformers, we may even be able to keep the giant robots that are seen in the anime series, but I personally think the movie might be a little stronger if they took them out.

Now, if only we could get more news on the Neon Genesis Evangelion live-action adaptation.

Posted on April 7, 2009 at 06:09 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News

6 Responses

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  1. Written by Hexadecimal
    on 2009-04-07 at 07:03
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    I’m glad to see someone thinks Full Metal Panic! is such a strong property, but I wonder if the changes needed to make it into an American movie won’t sap everything that made the original… original.

  2. Written by DJ Purkis
    on 2009-04-07 at 10:17
    Permalink

    Interesting choice…personally, I think it would work better WITH the giant robots. I think whathisface’s main skill was a mech pilot (for some reason I can remember the name of the experimental mech, Arbalest, but not his…was it Sasuke? It’s been years…) rather than all-round action hero (although he fulfilled that role reasonably well, too). In fact, didn’t miss blue-hair’s powers revolve around a mysterious understanding of the even more mysterious technology the Arbalest incorporates?

    Yeah…get the Eva film on track before Full Metal Panic.

  3. Written by milesperminute
    on 2009-04-07 at 10:20
    Permalink

    I’m a fairly decent anime watcher, but I never got around to seeing this one. Worth it?

  4. Written by Trisha Lynn
    on 2009-04-07 at 12:09
    Permalink

    @DJ Purkis: The series was aired originally in Japan in 2002 and ADV’s version came about about a year later, so any and all details about what Kaname Chidori could or couldn’t do with the technology are completely wiped from my memory. I do recall that the hero’s name is Sosuke Sagara (and good luck getting a mainstream argument to be able to pronounce that name) but I thought he was more effective as a hand-to-hand fighter. Again, but I could be wrong.

    The “giant robot” aspect would make it more unusual and fun, but also more expensive. With the economy being the way it is, do you honestly think that a studio’s going to greenlight a motion picture about giant robots that hasn’t been in the mainstream consciousness for at least 15 years?

    @milesperminute: I liked the first series, didn’t read the books or the manga, and didn’t see the anime series that was released by FUNimation (though I understand that “FMP! Fumoffu?” was more light-hearted than the first series).

  5. Written by djpowwow
    on 2009-04-07 at 13:50
    Permalink

    I was initially pretty surprised anyone would want to develope FMP into a live-action movie, but the more I think about it the more I think it would actually work.

    Personally, I sleep well knowing that the Evangelion movie is in development hell, and is unlikely to be turned into a horrible Hollywood adaptation any time soon. I sleep very well indeed…

  6. Written by Fabius Maximus
    on 2009-04-26 at 03:10
    Permalink

    Stories like this make me want to cry. Yet another of my favorites will be killed by soon… and you do need the arm slaves in the story.

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