'Astro Boy' Heading to Big-Screen as Live-Action Movie (Exclusive)

Astro Boy 23 Cover - P 2015
<p><span data-scayt_word="Astro" data-scaytid="1">Astro</span> Boy 23 Cover - P 2015</p>   |   Courtesy of Tezuka Productions
No director is attached, but the producers are about to begin a search for writers.

Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment has partnered with Japan’s Tezuka Productions to develop a live-action feature adaptation of the iconic character Astro Boy.

Zareh Nalbandian from Animal Logic Entertainment will produce with Jason Lust acting as executive producer. Mike Callaghan and Reuben Liber from Ranger 7 Films will also exec produce.

No director is attached, but the producers are about to begin a search for writers.

Animal Logic is known mainly for its special effects work, ranging from groundbreaking efforts in Happy Feet to this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it also has, since 2007, a development arm that is fostering a slate comprising live-action, hybrid and special effects-heavy projects. A Betty Boop feature, being produced with Simon Cowell’s SYCO Entertainment, is among the titles being developed.

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Astro Boy was a Japanese manga created in the early 1950s by Osamu Tezuka, who has been described as Japan’s Walt Disney, that ran for decades in comic and newspaper strip form. It was then translated into several anime series that became popular around the world in the 1970s and 1980s. Hollywood tried several times to bring the character to the big screen, succeeding only with an animated 2009 feature from Imagi Animation. (Freddie Highmore voiced the titular character.)

Astro (Boy) is a robot boy created by a scientist as a replacement for the man’s dead son. After going on a Pinocchio-style adventure, he ends up with a new owner and a new mission: to fight evil (in human or robot form) using his many superpowers.  

While the cartoons targeted a young demo, Animal Logic is aiming to make a four-quadrant adventure movie tailor-made for the comic book movie age.

“We’ve seen him as a manga, an anime and an animated movie but we’ve never seen him as a live-action movie or him as a superhero,” said Nalbandian. “We actually see him in the same league as an Iron Man.”

The producers also want to take advantage of the large ensemble of supporting characters and villains that were created over the decades.

"We want to make it aspirational but not soft," added Nalbandian.

Animal Logic is repped by CAA.