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Satoshi Kon Hits Hollywood via Paprika

NeverEnding Story director to "open up" Kon's film to make it more accessible...and live-action.

I don't know if you guys remember the rumors way back in August about there being a live-action Hollywood adaptation of Paprika-- based primarily on Satoshi Kon's anime film, rather than on the original novel that inspired the Kon flick. It was rumor until fairly recently, when a statement was released to sites like Reelz Channel, MTV Splash Page, etc. from Wolfgang Petersen-- director of The NeverEnding Story, and now of Paprika.

Plenty of fans seem pretty uninspired by the idea of adapting Paprika, believing that the animation was so perfect for the story that there's just no point in remaking it as a live-action film. And more recently, Japanator demands that we unleash "nerd rage" on Petersen because of the following statement:

"We open it up a little bit more so it's more accessible for a wide audience, but it comes a little bit sort of 'Matrix' feel." [sic]

 Look, it's pretty easy to hate on a movie, and I will give you that making this a really good film is one hell of a challenge. And I don't know what this "open it up" business is going to be about. But at least don't jump on the Matrix thing; if you were going to direct a film based on an obscure anime that most people haven't seen and you wanted to try to get mainstream audiences interested in it in a single sentence, what better way than to compare it to something they HAVE seen, and liked? As for "opening it up," I want details before I assume that it'll be terrible.  
Mind, it could very easily still be terrible. Making a live-action film that captures the same feel of the animated movie is no easy task, and I certainly don't envy Petersen for taking it on. But I have enough fondness for The NeverEnding Story that I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now (even if 2004's Troy dinged my confidence a bit).    
blaakmawfon April 13, 2010 at 7:56 a.m.
I don't really think this film needs a live-action adaptation.
AmandaBeeon April 13, 2010 at 9:01 a.m.
It's possible he could have scored some nerd points - or at least inspired a little less nerd rage - if he had compared it to The Cell instead of The Matrix.
Kelleth moderator on April 13, 2010 at 9:11 a.m.
I`d love to see the live-action movie. i dont know if it will work or not but i still want to watch it all the same :)
Sandon April 13, 2010 at 9:44 a.m.
Yes, "The Cell" would be a better comparison. 
Anyway, a lot of people seem to think that animation is a lesser art form, that live action is some sort of holy mountain all visual narratives should aspire to climb.  But the whole beauty of Paprika is the flawless, invisible border between dreams and reality, and I really wonder how well a live action film can capture that.  And why is live action necessary?  Isn't it fine as an animated film?  The only reason this kind of mature animation isn't accessible to a "wide audience" is because nobody will give it WIDE DISTRIBUTION.  (See also Disney's dubs of Ghibli films released under "Miramax" in select art house theatres only.)
Paprika doesn't need to be "opened up".  It is a very straightforward film.  What the hell is there to explain?  It has a small cast and a very specific focus.  By "open up" I wouldn't be surprised if he means "dumb down".
Even in Avatar, which cost a bajillion dollars, you can see where CG ends and live action begins.  I am sceptical about how well this can be pulled off, even putting aside the question of if it is necessary.
Konandaon April 13, 2010 at 2:36 p.m.

The thing I think will be extremely difficult about turning Paprika into a live action film is transforming the more surreal imagery from a non-realistic medium to one where the only way to add something non-realistic if by computer generated effects and graphics and given how currently most computer generated imagery that isn't very stylized is now falling into the uncanny valley. Where in the film because of the stylization the surreal images in the film feel like something out of a messed up dream and feel less fake than what I'm guessing they will look like in live action. 

orangefoxfetishon April 14, 2010 at 8:37 a.m.
My first thought upon reading this post? I don't think it's needed and won't be received well by American audiences.
But the more I think about it, the more I warm up to it. A live-action adaptation could be pretty good. Probably. 
(And, of course, I love being one of those annoying people who, after seeing the movie, complains about how the book/anime the movie is based on is way better than the live-action. :)
John_Martoneon April 14, 2010 at 2:10 p.m.
Yeah, we talked about this at length on the squadcast, but I just don't even have hope for this.

Dig Deeper into Paprika

Paprika is a movie Directed by Satoshi Kon, and is based on the novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui.

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