The Japanese animation studio Sunrise has officially announced the plans for a live-action film adaptation of its Cowboy Bebop science-fiction anime franchise. The American film studio Twentieth Century Fox, the production company 3 Arts Entertainment, and Sunrise itself are collaborating on the project. Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, A Scanner Darkly, Johnny Mnemonic) is slated to star. Joshua Long is acting as a production supervisor, and Erwin Stoff, a film producer who worked closely with Reeves on The Matrix and A Scanner Darkly, is also attached. The associate producers are Sunrise President Kenji Uchida, the original Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe, and the original series script supervisor Keiko Nobumoto. The Sunrise studio itself and Masahiko Minami (former Sunrise producer and BONES studio co-founder) are both acting as production consultants.
Stoff first revealed the existence of the proposed project last July to the IFMagazine.com entertainment website after the parties "just signed it the other day." Reeves confirmed the plans and his intentions to play the lead role with MTV Movies Blog last month. He also indicated that the preliminary story outline partly draws inspiration from the "Red Eye" storyline from the first episode of the animated series. Reeves and Watanabe had previously worked together on the "Kid's Story" segment of The Animatrix animated video anthology.
Watanabe's original Cowboy Bebop series follows the motley crew of the spaceship Bebop as it travels throughout the solar system in search of the next job. The anime distributor Bandai Entertainment and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block released the 1998 television series in the United States, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the subsequent 2001 animated movie. The anime was also adapted into two separate manga series, and Tokyopop released both manga series in North America.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Cowboy Bebop has a very Hollywood feel to it and would work as a live-action movie. Reeves is something of a grey area; he looks the part, but as he's commonly associated as being a living block of wood, it's just a matter of if he can pull it off. Really, all it needs is a killer soundtrack.