Live Action Project

Evangelion Live Action Project

About the Live Action Project (Last Updated: December 1, 2004)

The Live Action Evangelion project has been a topic of much discussion (and bitching) among fans since it was first announced well over a year ago.  Many complaints arose from practically every detail.  Everything from "slug" names, to the organic look of the Evas has been discussed at length.   However, as I have stated on numerous occassions, across numerous Eva forums, communities, and mailing lists, its entirely too early to tell whether this proposed film will be a smash hit, or a dismal failure.  Even details such as keeping the cast of Japanese ethnicity, or choosing to "Americanize" it to make it western friendly, remain to be decided upon.  We can presume, given the nature of the industry, which has created such terrible blunders as "Van Hellsing", "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", and "Garfield", whether this movie will be good or just downright terrible.  Especially when considering adaptations of comic, cartoon, or video game licenses, western cinema generally has a habit of taking what was successful, and cranking out something that falls somewhere between mediocre and painful.   A few stellar examples exist, such as first "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie, and the recent "Spider-Man" and "X-Men" movies.   However, its hard to pick out what was good for the fact that there are just too many painful memories such as "Street Fighter" and "Super Mario Brothers".  For now, we can presume, based on what we do know.

When did all of this start?

The project was first announced on May 19, 2003 by ADV Films President and CEO John Ledford.  At its time of announcement, the details were sketchy, but fairly solid given that it was just starting out.  It was announced as a joint venture between ADV Films, WETA Workshops, and Studio Gainax.  Info has trickled through since then, bit by bit, in the form of conceptual artwork, magazine blurbs, DVD extras, and the occasional interview.  And surprisingly enough, in that time, we really haven't heard very much conclusive information.

Who's directing this movie?

As of right now, the production is in the process of securing a director.   Preliminary budget, script, and concept artwork has been assembled, and is circulating the desks of a handful of what ADV refers to as "A-List" directors.   Although I would like to point out that "A-List" is highly subjective, and even good directors can make a downright terrible movie on occasion, especially when it comes to something from an unfamiliar medium, such as Evangelion.  I would also like to point out that even Anno, the director of Evangelion, has his share of mediocrity as well.

What are the details?

  • The film is in the very early stages of development.
  • Anno was very pleased and enthused with the production's plans, and will periodically be supervising the production and making suggestions.
  • A script has been written.
  • The film will have a preliminary budget of $100 million dollars.
  • The film has no director at this time.
  • The film will have an international cast.
  • The film has no casting at this time.
  • The film will be filmed primarily in New Zealand, where WETA workshops is located.
  • What roles ADV, Gainax, and WETA has is undetermined.  Although it can be presumed that ADV will be handling the planning, marketting, and distribution of the film, with WETA (presuming the director chooses to keep WETA) doing the design and production work, and Gainax doing some measure of supervisory work.

What's it going to be about?

In the end, it boils down to this, people want to know what's in store for them.   And for now, all we know is what ADV "intends" to do.  The idea is to make a single film that will surmise the events of the first six episodes of the series, leaving them plenty of room to go and make another film or two to finish the story should it be successful.  This is perhaps the single most encouraging detail, for the fact that the first six episodes are referred to as the "prologue arc".   Operation Yashima is the first climax of the series, with the subsequent episodes being part of the "action arc".  Taking into account that without the episodes of the show (minus intro/outro/preview) are only twenty minutes, thats two hours of story to fit into a (approximately) two hour movie.  However, it should be noted that any director brought on board would have the creative autonomy to take the production in practically any direction they choose.  This makes WETA's situation a bit dubious in my opinion, because directors often have a great affinity for certain studios.  In some cases, you're only as good as the people you work with.  And I can see WETA being either dropped from the bill, or playing a significantly less important role.

When will it be in theaters?

Don't hold your breathe.  Sometimes, films like this take years to make, and are often delayed repeatedly in the pre-production phase.  As was stated by Matt Greenfield in an issue of Anime Insider, it may not happen till 2010, if at all.   This film could pick of steam and start snow balling, or it could drag on at a lathargic pace for years.  Whatever the case, I suggest keeping in mind that this film may not happen at all, and if it does, its not going to be for a while.  And if you feel the need to complain about this project, I would suggest waiting till a director is named, and the project begins to shape up.  Because as of right now, its just an idea, and it takes a lot of time and effort to get an idea to fruition, and much of that effort is yet to come.

Click here for the original press release
Click here for old Live Action Eva news
Click here to view the WETA concept art