After 19 years since its debut in 1989, DreamWorks has finally secured the rights to adapt the Japanese manga and anime series Ghost in the Shell into a 3D live-action feature film. Both Universal and Sony were also chasing the rights, but Steven Spielberg himself took a personal interest in it and made sure it ended up in the hands of his company - DreamWorks. Spielberg says that Ghost in the Shell is one of his favorite stories and is "a genre that has arrived and we enthusiastically welcome it to DreamWorks." This plays off of the announcement from February that Akira, one of the other heralded Japanese anime properties, is being adapted by Warner Brothers as well.
Street Kings screenwriter Jamie Moss has been hired to write the adaptation. Ex-Marvel CEO Avi Arad and Steven Paul, who originally brought the project to the studio, will both produce. A director has not been announced yet. DreamWorks president of production Adam Goodman enthused that Ghost in the Shell is a property "that epitomizes 3-D live-action motion picture possibilities." A production schedule has not been announced, however it's likely DreamWorks will be aiming to get this together to follow Akira's debut in the summer of 2009.
Created by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell was first published in 1989. It went on to generate two additional manga editions, three anime film adaptations, an anime TV series and three videogames. Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic police thriller dealing with the exploits of Motoko Kusanagi, a member of the covert operations section of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission, Section 9, which specializes in fighting technology-related crime. Although supposedly equal to all other members, Kusanagi fills the leadership role in the team, and is usually referred to as "the Major" due to her past rank in the armed forces. She is capable of superhuman feats, and bionically specialized for her job - her body is almost completely mechanized; only her brain and a segment of her spinal cord are organic.
I'm a huge fan of the two Ghost in the Shell anime movies and am incredibly excited to see this finally come together under Spielberg's discretion. It looks like the new trend in Hollywood definitely is adapting anime and it looks like both Paramount (Ghost in the Shell) and Warner Brothers (Akira) have their big properties. I only hope that Jamie Moss is a talented enough screenwriter to maintain the brilliant subtleties and undertones of the Ghost in the Shell series and not turn it into a steaming pile of Hollywood crap. For now I'll remain confident and maintain my excitement as this project develops.