Depending on their faith in live action adaptations, ninja fans might rejoice or groan over the latest update on the Hollywood adaptation of a Naruto live action film.

naruto live action director

Destin Daniel Cretton Set to Direct Naruto Live-Action Film

The filming rights were originally picked up in 2015 by Lionsgate, a Canadian-American media company known for successful movie franchises such as Saw, The Hunger Games and The Twilight Saga. Following some changes of staff, it was announced in February 2024 that Destin Daniel Cretton will be directing the film.

Cretton is half-Japanese and known for co-writing and directing the Marvel Studios film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Other announced team members include Tasha Huo, who has also signed on as a writer. Huo has worked on television series such as The Witcher and the upcoming animated series, Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft

The Weight of Naruto’s Legacy

Anime live action films have historically come under heavy scrutiny from fans for not living up to their expectations. Some common criticisms include that it looks like a low budget production, the acting is exaggerated, poor costume choices and the narrative, or writing, doesn’t stay true to the original.

One striking exception has been the recent One Piece live-action series by Netflix. It’s also unknown why the Naruto live-action has taken close to 10 years to reach this stage, but pressure to create a film that fans would be proud of could be a big reason. That would make sense, understanding the sheer weight of the Naruto legacy both in Japan and around the world.

While there’s still no official release date, these announcements indicate that the film is progressing. If there is one glimmer of hope, it’s that not only has Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto been asked to co-develop the film, Cretton himself received his blessing on a recent trip to Tokyo. Upon hearing of the director change, Kishimoto stated that “he was the perfect choice.”

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