I mean just historically, that will be the case, right?
It’s very rare for me to come out of a movie that opens in March and think “Yup, that’s going in my Top 10 of the year.” That’s not just because it’s so early that making any end-of-the-year predictions is pretty foolhardy, but also because you don’t often get films that unbelievably good so early in the year. On the latter point, Your Name was certainly an anomaly.
But what can I say? The moment the film concluded, I was left breathless, and confidant that it would go down as an animated movie classic. Hell, it already kind of has: even if the movie didn’t make waves stateside (although $5 million for an anime movie in America is not too shabby at all), it was a MASSIVE hit internationally. In fact, it’s the highest grossing anime movie of all time, and the number four grossing movie in its home state of Japan. No matter how you slice it, Your Name was a bonefide worldwide sensation.
So of course Hollywood wouldn’t be able to keep its greedy paws off of it for long.
Which, by the way, is the other thing I was thinking about as I left my screening for the film: there was no world in which a live action Hollywood remake of this film wouldn’t be attempted. One part Freaky Friday, one part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the film has a killer premise, and one that clearly has mainstream appeal if the anime shell was cut off of it. Sure, the anime shell is also what makes it so damn special in the first place, but bare with me here: if I was a producer watching this movie, I would already be thinking of ways in which I can nab the rights for an American version of the story.
That was apparently the case for J.J. Abrams, at least, as Variety reports a live-action Your Name remake is officially in the works over at Paramount. Abrams’ Bad Robot will of course be the production company behind the remake, which is being penned by writer Eric Heisserer, who gained his fair share of acclaim last year with the screenplay for Arrival. The heady themes of destiny and time would certainly sit in Heisserer’s wheelhouse so, really, you couldn’t find a better American to adapt the film.
But, once again, we return to the main issue: have ANY of these anime adaptations worked? The answer is an obvious no, and after two unarguable failures this year (Death Note and Paramount’s very own Ghost in the Shell), you have to wonder what studios are hoping to gain by tapping into the anime well. International name value, sure, but adapting these films to Hollywood have proven to be a difficult task. That’s going to ESPECIALLY the case for Your Name as, initial hook aside, the second half of the movie is VERY Japanese, in a way that will be difficult to translate 1 to 1 in America.
Which, by the way, let me say: don’t get your hopes up about this starring Asian people or being Japanese set or anything like that. This will be set in America, and probably star a bunch of white people with names like “James” or “Jessica” and shit like that.
But since we have to deal with that anyways…who would be the best choices for the main characters of Taki (let’s say “Tom”) and Mitsuha (“Michelle,” probably.) Maybe Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley? Or Ansel Elgort and Hailee Steinfeld? Or Tye Sheridan and Chloe Grace Moretz? Or fuck it, just go and watch the original because it’s SO good?
Personally, I’d go with the last one.
Also published on Medium.