ByRuss Fischer, writer at
Russ Fischer

If ire at a remake is directly proportional to the popularity of the original property, then anger at the live-action remake of Your Name is going to be big enough to be seen from space.

Your Name, written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, is one of the most popular anime features ever made. It's the highest-grossing worldwide with massive popularity in Japan and China, and the fourth-highest grossing film of all time in Japan. It's also a great film by any standard, with a wildly effective story in which two Japanese teens, in different towns, begin to swap bodies before realizing their connection is also tied to a massive disaster.

Now Paramount and Bad Robot are developing a live-action American remake. There's good talent on board but the shoddy history of anime to live-action adaptations in the US means the new Your Name has big hurdles to leap before it even hits the screen.

THR reports that JJ Abrams is developing the remake for Bad Robot and Paramount, with Eric Heisserer, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Arrival, on board for the first script draft. He also wrote Lights Out and The Thing remake/sequel, but that script for Arrival demonstrates the sort of sensitivity that Your Name demands.

We don't know if the remake will be set in Japan or the US, but after a year that gave us Ghost in the Shell and Death Note there's already a negative public perception of anime adaptations featuring white casts and/or American settings. What will the remake add?

Your Name is not as specifically a Japanese story as Ghost in the Shell, but it does build on ingredients that don't have easy analogues in American culture, such as traditional practices and family relationships. Sure, that stuff can call be changed, but... why?

In a statement, Shinaki said "Your Name is a film created with the innate imaginations of a Japanese team and put together in a domestic medium. When such a work is imbued with Hollywood filmmaking, we may see new possibilities that we had been completely unaware of. I am looking forward to the live-action film with excited anticipation.”


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