Fox hunts down 'Cowboy Bebop'

Keanu Reeves set to star as Spike Spiegel

Twentieth Century Fox is bringing the Japanese anime TV series "Cowboy Bebop" to the big screen, with Keanu Reeves attached to star as a bounty hunter traveling through space in 2071.

One of the big titles in anime, "Bebop" is set in a time where "astral gates" make interstellar travel possible. Humanity, decimated by a lunar explosion resulting from a gate accident, spread out across the solar system, as did crime, which gave rise to the use of bounty hunters.

Reeves would play Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter and former member of a crime syndicate. Spiegel, along with Jet Black, a fellow bounty hunter and former cop, are the two pilots of the spaceship Bebop.

Peter Craig is writing the script.

The show, which first aired on Tokyo TV and satcaster Wowow during the late 1990s, was strongly influenced by American music, even featuring action sequences -- both space battles and mano a mano -- timed to U.S. melodies.

Reeves' association with the project leaked in the summer when Fox and 3 Arts Entertainment began the process of acquiring the rights from Sunrise Studios.

Erwin Stoff, Reeves' longtime manager, is producing through 3 Arts. Joshua Long will serve as executive producer.

Sunrise president Kenji Uchida, the TV series' director of animation, Shinichiro Watanabe, and series writer Keiko Nobumoto will serve as associate producers. Series producer Masahiko Minami will serve as production consultant.

"Bebop" marks a return to Fox for the CAA-repped Reeves, who starred in the studio's December release "The Day the Earth Stood Still."
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