September 12, 2007
"Tobey Maguire set
to deliver 'Tokyo Suckerpunch'
Konnichi wa, Maguire-san.
Tobey Maguire, the star of
three "Spider-Man" films that have generated more than
$2.5 billion for Japanese corporate giant Sony, now has not one
but two Japan-related projects in the works.
Warner Bros. announced Friday
that it had purchased the film rights to "Robotech,"
an epic Japanese anime sci-fi series about giant robots on Earth,
that Maguire will produce with Craig Zahler ("The Brigands
of Rattleborge") writing the screenplay.
But the delightfully titled
"Tokyo Suckerpunch," which Maguire has been developing
as producer and star for two years with screenwriter Ed Solomon
("Men in Black") and producers Lucy Fisher and Doug
Wick ("Memoirs of a Geisha"), has also recently picked
up momentum. Now it looks like the movie -- a romantic comedy/action/modern
noir hybrid that uses live-action and anime -- will reunite Maguire
with "Pleasantville" costar Reese Witherspoon and writer-director
Gary Ross, who also directed him in "Seabiscuit."
"One of the most attractive
things about it is that it combines anime with live action,"
says Ross, who mixed black-and- white and color footage as a
thematic device in "Pleasantville," his 1998 directorial
debut. "It presents a lot of stylistic opportunities in
how you shoot the live action so that it works harmonically."
Sony acquired the rights to
Isaac Adamson's poppy 2000 novel "Tokyo Suckerpunch: A Billy
Chaka Adventure" in April 2005, but last month Ross became
attached to develop another draft with Solomon that he will direct
if it gets greenlighted. Adamson wrote several other Billy Chaka
books -- "Hokkaido Popsicle," "Dreaming Pachinko"
and "Kinki Lullaby" -- which open up the possibility
of another franchise for Maguire.
A draft dated May 22, 2007,
is a jaunty, unpredictable foray into the peculiar, pulsing Tokyo
cityscape. Billy Chaka -- popular graphic novelist, Cleveland
native and rabid Japanophile -- travels to Japan for the first
time to attend the premiere of a cheesy movie made from his self-mythologizing
work (in Adamson's novel, Chaka is a journalist for teen magazine
Youth in Asia). There, he must contend with not only jarring
culture shock but also mysterious fans, Dolph Lundgren (who stars
as the movie Chaka) and a dangerous, mob-related kidnapping that
starts to resemble one of his own crazy plots.
All, of course, while love-hate
sparring with his cute and resourceful editor, Sarah, played
by Witherspoon. Among the pleasures Solomon delivers are some
laugh-out-loud but very black physical comedy, a tense but funny
sojourn in a love motel and the prospect of hearing Witherspoon
slip in and out of flawless Japanese.
"What Ed does so well
is he captures that kind of 1930s male-female banter," Ross
Though Ross says he, Maguire
and Witherspoon are all game to make the film, potential production
depends mostly on Oscar winner Witherspoon's schedule -- she's
committed to doing "Four Christmases" with Vince Vaughn
this year -- and, of course, Solomon's rewrite.
Scriptland is a weekly feature
on the work and professional lives of screenwriters." from
Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2007