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(Image: Funimation Films)

J.J. Abrams is the latest Hollywood producer to stick his hand straight into the anime-to-live-action woodchipper, with Variety reporting that the Star Wars: Episode IX director has signed on to guide a movie based on last year’s anime sensation Your Name into American theaters. Eric Heisserer, who earned an Oscar nomination last year for Best Adapted Screenplay for Arrival, will write the script.

Your Name was an absolute box office smash in Japan, where it became the fourth-most successful movie in the country’s history, after Spirited Away, Titanic, and Frozen. The film focuses on two Japanese teenagers who find themselves swapping bodies, managing to communicate with each other via written notes and phone memos.


Given his Star Wars duties, it seems improbable that Abrams will end up directing the adaptation, although Paramount will presumably be happy to be at least getting this much attention from “its” star director. Meanwhile, the film will be entering a market that saw the studio’s last big attempt to turn Japanese animation into a live-action American film—Ghost In The Shellbomb at the box office amidst accusations of whitewashing.

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