According to sources close to WGTC – the same ones who told us Ahsoka Tano will appear in The Madalorian season 2 and a Justice League Dark series is coming to HBO Max, both of which were correct – Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Goulding is being eyed for the lead role in Sony Pictures’ upcoming live-action adaptation of the incredibly popular Japanese webcomic One Punch Man.
One of the most internationally beloved entertainment properties Japan has produced in recent years, One Punch Man is an animated superhero spoof that tells the story of Saitama, a hero so strong he can beat anyone, and I mean anyone – master swordsman, giant sea creature, alien overlord, you name it – with a single punch.
The series, created by the anonymous writer ‘One,’ derives its tension not from nailbiting fight scenes – Saitama always wins – but from the emotional baggage that the hero’s disproportional strength exerts on him. You see, Saitama didn’t become a hero to avenge his dead parents or fulfill his innate desire for peace and justice; he just wanted a kick, and so his inability to find a worthy adversary has understandably sent him spiraling into a prolonged bout of depression.
The webcomic was initially made into an anime and not a live-action movie for a good reason: that its zany premise would draw laughs when presented in an animated form, but command cringe when played out by actual people. This is probably also one of the reasons why live-action adaptations of anime have not fared well in the past. For a recent example, look no further than Netflix’s 2017 adaptation of the anime Death Note, which was watched only to discover how far it fell short of the original.
Whether or not Goulding will take on the lead role of One Punch Man remains to be seen, of course. After all, he’s incredibly in demand right now and is also being eyed to star in the live-action Dragon Ball Z feature. But he’s certainly someone the studio is interested in and as soon as we hear more on the situation, we’ll be sure to let you know.