Animal Logic Entertainment, the production house that brought you the acclaimed visual effects in movies such as The Great Gatsby, Happy Feet, Walking With Dinosaurs 3D, and The LEGO Movie, has just announced that its next project will be a live-action version of the classic Japanese manga Astro Boy.
Written by Osamu Tezuka (considered the Japanese Walt Disney), the futuristic sci-fi story originated from a Japanese comic in the late 50s about a doctor who manufactures a robotic boy in order to replace his dead son. According to the original plot, the doctor soon realizes that the powerful little robot is not enough to quell the pain of losing his child; the machine (dubbed Astro Boy) is then sold as a circus performer. Once he falls under the attention of Professor Ochanumizu (head of the Ministry of Science), however, Astro Boy is adopted and – under the care of Ochanumizu – embarks on a series of adventures.
Although Astro Boy has been told and re-told in several variations, first inspiring a few Japanese TV animes in the 1960s through the ’80s, and then spawning a couple more animated variations in the 2000s, Animal Logic is confident in its new project, saying, “it’s going to be a blast relaunching Astro Boy as a robot superhero for the new millennium.”
Hollywood’s previous attempt to market Astro Boy in the U.S. featured Freddie Highmore and Nicolas Cage as voice actors in the 2009 animated film version, which received lukewarm critical response.
Animal Logic does not seem deterred by the past adaptations, however. Says the company’s representative, Zareh Nalbadian:
We’ve seen him as a manga, an anime and an animated movie but we’ve never seen him as a live-action movie …We actually see him in the same league as an Iron Man.”
The upcoming feature film is dually produced by Animal Logic and Tezuka Productions (owned by the Astro Boy author himself), and although it is a children’s comic, the filmmakers reportedly want to create an edgier interpretation of the material, making it “aspirational but not soft.”
With Animal Logic’s popular track record (other films of theirs include 300, Moulin Rouge!, and Avengers: Age of Ultron), the future of the robotic boy-hero rests in award-winning hands.