Hollywood is making a live-action Gantz adaptation with, according to Deadline, Julius Avery of Overlord fame helming the project. Had you heard? Because Hiroya Oku, the manga artist who created Gantz, hadn’t.
Oku’s Gantz manga debuted in 2000 and ran until 2013, in Weekly Young Jump magazine. It spawned an anime, a video game, live action Japanese film, and a CGI version.
Deadline reports that Julius Avery is set to direct the adaptation; however, this has yet to be officially announced. Besides helming the horror film Overlord, Avery also previously wrote and directed the 2014 crime flick Son of a Gun, and is currently at work on Samaritan, based on the graphic novels by Bragi F. Schut, and starring Sylvester Stallone.
This report of a Gantz movie was news to Hiroya Oku, who wrote on Twitter that this was “the first he had heard of this.” (Note that Oku’s tweet also mentioned that Marc Guggenheim, who co-created and wrote Arrow, was handling the script. This is something that he was asked about last year, and he replied with a ‘shhh’ emoji.)
“Previously, I signed off on the contract [to make the live-action Hollywood movie], but I didn’t know it was moving forward,” he added on Twitter.
Online in Japan, some fans are excited by the report of Avery’s involvement, but others are somewhat uneasy by the fact it seems that Oku isn’t really involved in the production—or that he doesn’t even seem to know what’s going on with it.
In August, Oku talked to Crunchyroll (via CBR) about the Hollywood version, explaining that he could not make a new Gantz anime until Hollywood gave him back the rights.
“Yeah, I can’t talk about all the details on that subject, but a Hollywood company does have the rights to adapt Gantz at the moment, and unless they return us the rights, we won’t be able to make either an anime or live-action adaptation of the manga,” he said at the time. “That’s the Hollywood type of contract; they own all the adaptations including anime and live-action, except for manga.”
The contract was signed in 2020 and, apparently, gives the rights to Hollywood for at least the next four years.
“I haven’t been updated about how the Hollywood adaptation is going or whether it will actually be made,” he continued in his Crunchyroll interview. “It’s likely Covid-19 has paused a lot of new projects over there, and Gantz is probably one of them.”
“If that’s the case, I’d like to have the rights back,” he added. Or, at the very least, be given a heads-up as who is directing the picture.