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Thor producer and Thor: Ragnarok co-writer Craig Kyle told Tokyo’s Japan Content Showcase on Tuesday that he is developing a live-action TV series of a popular supernatural action manga, lauding Japan as a “treasure trove” of character and stories.
Kyle, who currently runs Yugen Entertainment with partner Tim Connors, in a keynote appearance said he was currently developing a live-action TV series version of Hajime Segawa’s Ga-Rei, telling the story of two young girls “destined to define the fate of the living and the dead.” He said that he was working on the pilot and flushing out a character bible, signaling that the show could unfold its story over several seasons.
An anime series based on the manga was dubbed Ga-Rei: Zero and had 12 episodes.
He also said the deal he struck for the option to develop the manga “is very reflective of the depth of the properties that you can offer the international market.”
“What it has more than anything is wonderful, wonderful characters,” Kyle said. “That’s the one component, above all else, that will guarantee a success if handled properly by those you entrust with those characters and the IP. Everyone who wants the next Game of Thrones, I will make the bold statement that Ga-Rei has that potential.”
“I left Marvel with all my friends intact…I wanted to touch far more worlds than the ones I had been exposed to for 14 years,” Kyle told the crowd about why he founded Yugen. “The best place to find those great stories is here…. [Japan has] a treasure trove of material that you can pull from.”
He said: “The Japanese stories and characters that have appeared since before I was a kid have far exceeded those that we have done in the States. When it comes to gender, the diversity, on all levels fearless choices are made…. [The characters have] so many tremendous shades of emotional and sexual and personal gray. They’re just bold.”
Kyle’s conclusion: “You own the vault…. You guys are the promised land.”
But he also urged Japanese content owners looking for partners to adapt their material to be picky so adaptations don’t fall shy of expectations. “A lot gets lost” in most adaptations, which means there aren’t too many he has liked, he explained. And too often source material doesn’t get enough attention and ends up getting “abused,” he added.
Asked what keys to success he sees for adaptations, Kyle discussed the recent film version of Ghost in the Shell, saying: “The size of the movie that was made recently ended up putting an actress in place, like Scarlett [Johansson], who was wonderful in some roles but was never meant to be the lead in that story. But if you spend this much money, to get the number of people in the seats studios believe those actors have to be of a certain caliber, right or wrong. I would say make the best movie. If it’s great, people will come.” His suggestion was that creatives must in the case of any suggested change withstand the question “does it improve upon” the original material.
Kyle argued that “everyone else in the States is out of ideas,” which means that “they are trying to find any movie or property they don’t own.” He told the Japanese crowd: “You guys are in control.”
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