With <i>Akira</i> on Hold, Warner Bros. Turns to Live-Action <i>Bleach</i> Movie

Undeterred by its difficulties with Akira, Warner Bros. has acquired the live-action film rights to Bleach, the bestselling action-fantasy manga by Tite Kubo, Variety reports. Wrath of the Titans screenwriter Dan Mazeau will pen the adaptation, with Get Smart's Peter Segal producing and possibly directing.

"I've always been a huge fan of Bleach and have great respect for its creator Kubo and the truly original and amazing world he has created in this manga," Segal said.

Debuting in 2001, Bleach follows Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager with the ability to see spirits who inadvertently absorbs the powers of a Soul Reaper -- a personification of death similar to the Grim Reaper -- and dedicates his life to protecting the innocent and guiding lost souls to the afterlife.

The manga's 53 volumes to date have sold 75 million copies in Japan, and spawned a hit animated television series and four feature films. Warner Bros. has been trying to secure the rights to the property since at least March 2010.

Heroes alum Masi Oka, who brought Bleach to Segal's Callahan Filmworks, will also produce along with Segal's partner Michael Ewing and Viz Productions, a subsidiary of Viz Media, which publishes the manga in North America.

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