Astro Boy may be heading back to the big screen, thanks to Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment and Japan’s Tezuka Productions, which are plotting a live-action feature adaptation of the iconic manga.
No director is attached to the project, but the producing team, including producer Zareh Nalbandian (of Animal Logic) and exec-producers Jason Lust (of Animal Logic), Mike Callaghan and Reuben Liber (both of Ranger 7 Films), is about to head up a search for writers.
Animal Logic is acclaimed for its special effects work on projects as massive as Happy Feet and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the studio is also taking a stab at developing its own projects, many of which include a hybrid of animation and live-action. A Betty Boop movie is one such project in the works.
Astro Boy was massively popular in Japan as a 1950s manga created by Osama Tezuka, and multiple anime adaptations achieved worldwide popularity in the ’70s and ’80s.
Though Hollywood has tried to bring the character – a robot boy created by a scientist as a replacement for the man’s dead son, who fights evil after finding a new owner – to the big screen for decades, the only successful adaptation came in the form of a 2009 animation featuring the voice talents of Freddie Highmore. This new take will skew less toward kids and more toward comic-book fans, according to Nalbandian, who said:
“We’ve seen him as a manga, an anime and an animated movie but we’ve never seen him as a live-action movie or him as a superhero. We actually see him in the same league as an Iron Man.”
Before the colossal success of Big Hero 6, a project like Astro Boy might have been seen as risky, but now, with comic-book movies targeted at all ages still dominating the multiplex, the time seems right for the character to make his live-action debut. Expect to see many of the hero’s villains in the film too, as the producers aim to launch an Astro Boy franchise.