Hollywood has had immense difficulty adapting anime properties into live-action features in recent years, as seen with the critically slammed and financially disappointing corpses of the likes of “Ghost in the Shell,” “Speed Racer,” “Dragonball Evolution” and “Death Note”.
In fact at one time Warner Bros. Pictures had plans for a live-action film based on the property “Bleach,” and recently creator Tite Kubo spoke to TBS Radio (via CBM) about the aborted adaptation and how he himself had a hand in stopping it coming to fruition.
The manga follows hotheaded teenager Ichigo Kurosaki who inherits his parents destiny, after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper. He’s forced to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife, putting him on a journey to various ghostly realms of existence.
Kubo says production was progressing fairly well, but the screenplay “hadn’t really gotten together”. Both the possible director and lead actor came to Japan and had dinner with him to talk about the property and Hollywood was willing to spend big bucks on it.
However the studio needed to impress its financiers and so were turning the adaptation into something it should not be – such as setting it in a traditional US high school: “It is a good story, but it doesn’t not have anything to do with Bleach.”
Kubo confirms he asked for multiple screenplay corrections, but the handling was not organized well. Eventually Warners lost the rights to the property since Kubo would not okay its development. Since then there’s been no further word on an adaptation in development.