Naruto Creator is Involved With U.S. Live-Action Adaptation

"Naruto" fans who are, let's say, uneasy about the idea of a live-action U.S. adaptation may be comforted by this news: The manga's creator, Masashi Kishimoto, is involved with the production.

Anime News Network reports that it was confirmed this weekend at the annual Jump Festa event in Tokyo that Lionsgate and "The Greatest Showma" director Michael Gracey are developing the film. In addition, Kishimoto's involvement was announced, although apparently no details were provided.

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Debuting in 1999, the manga tells the epic story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage, the ninja who’s acknowledged as the leader and protector of the village.

The fantasy-adventure, which concluded in November 2014 with the 72nd volume, has more than 200 million copies in print worldwide, and has inspired spinoff manga, two anime series, 10 animated films, and numerous video games and novels. The franchise continues, both in manga and in anime, with Naruto's son Boruto, who was introduced in the 2014 feature "The Last: Naruto the Movie."

Gracey, whose background is in visual effects and animation, has a long list of directorial work lined up, including Fox’s P.T. Barnum musical “The Greatest Showman on Earth,” the new Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” and the Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” starring Tom Hardy.

Jump Festa is an annual manga and anime exposition launched in 1999 by Shueisha, publisher of "Weekly Shonen Jump" and "Weekly Young Jump," and co-owner of Viz Media.

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