Your Name has named a new director to take the helm of Paramount, Bad Robot, and Toho’s live-action remake of the 2016 anime hit. Minari filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung will take over as the Your Name remake director, taking the reigns from Marc Webb, who was originally tapped to direct the film last year. Chung will be rewriting a draft by The Big Sick co-writer Emily V. Gordon, who took over from Oscar-nominated Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer.
Deadline reports that Lee Isaac Chung has been tapped to direct and rewrite the live-action remake of Your Name, Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 animated fantasy romance film. Chung will be taking over as the main writer and director of a film that has gone through several of both — Heisserer was first tapped to pen the script, described as a “reimagined” adaptation of Your Name, before Gordon was brought on to write a new draft. Last year, Webb was set as the director for Your Name, which reportedly would have centered around a Native American girl and a Chicago boy who get magically body-swapped.
It’s unclear whether those details will stay the same in Chung’s new rewrite. Deadline describes the logline as: “In this reimagined version, two teenagers discover they are magically and intermittently swapping bodies. When a disaster threatens to upend their lives, they must journey to meet and save their worlds.”
As a Korean-American director who mined some of his own personal experiences as the son of Korean immigrants in his Sundance darling Minari, I’d expect Chung would once again draw from experience with his rewrite of Your Name and ditch the Native American angle altogether. The Native American-centric story was shaky as it was, without any Native American writers or consultants on board. With expectations high for a remake of a film that has already been lauded as an anime classic (if not a just an outright classic, regardless), it would probably be smartest for Chung to put his own personal spin on it.
Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams will produce the Your Name remake along with Genki Kawamura, who produced the original film. Toho will handle distribution of the film in Japan with Paramount releasing in all other territories.
I’m a little nervous that the project has changed hands so many times, with Heisserer, than Gordon, and now Chung taking a stab at the script. Too many cooks, as they say. But I’ve heard such good things about Minari, which won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, that I want this to be good. (Though I am wary that this feels like Paramount bringing on an Asian director to assuage any fears of whitewashing.) Regardless, Chung is a promising rising director, and I hope to see good things from him.
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September 19, 2020