It has been more than a year since director Michael Gracey was announced to be working on a live-action adaptation for the critically acclaimed manga (and anime) sensation, Naruto. While the project has mostly gone dark since then, there is a good reason why.
Speaking with Collider in a recent interview, Gracey revealed that the relative slow progress is on purpose. This is partly because past adaptations have failed to do proper justice to the original works. Bringing a manga or anime to the silver screen with real-life action is not an easy task. There are several boundaries that are unique to each medium. In that light, Gracey has decided to be very careful when it comes to Naruto.
The director has made it clear that he will not move forward without the involvement of Masashi Kishimoto, the original creator of the Japanese series. The first step is finalizing a script that has his blessings, which is a commendable decision and one that other western directors should have thought about before pumping poorly received adaptations.
“If I was gonna do Naruto, I wanted to actually work with Kishimoto and get a script to a stage where he would look at it and be excited about realizing it,” Gracey explained. “Because no one knows the world better than the person who created it.”
In other words, the project will continue to remain on a hiatus if there is no Kishimoto in sight. Gracey also added that he has no intention to destroy “an amazing franchise” and will not take Naruto as just another project.
“Everyone knows how precious this property is and to me it’s incredibly exciting, and I love the work that I’ve gotten to do on it to date,” Gracey added. “At this stage, no one is going to go into production until we’ve got a script that excites everyone. So whether it’s my next one or not, I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.”
As far as fans are concerned, the live-action Naruto movie has not taken off the ground and a premiere date is unlikely to happen in the next year at minimum.