Japanese director Takashi Miike is set to take on the live action film adaptation of Ace Attorney, the popular video game series about defense attorney Phoenix Wright and his courtroom shenanagins. Capcom has even released the latest casting news with Hiroki Narimiya playing the lead role and Takumi Saito as his rival, Miles Edgeworth.
This film version of Ace Attorney is only the latest step in the video game series. According to Capcom,
This critically acclaimed franchise has also inspired cell phone games, comic books, character-based merchandise, as well as orchestra concerts involving the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and even a stage musical by the Takarazuka Revue….Mr. Takashi Miike of Crows Zero and Thirteen Assassins fame will be lending his directorial talents to the film. Production management will be handled by Nippon Television Network Corporation and distribution will be handled by Toho Co., Ltd. The movie is scheduled to be released in early Spring 2012 at all Toho Cinemas nation-wide.
I’m not a huge fan of Miike but I’m well aware of his work, thanks to an impromptu screening of Audition where I had innocently assumed the film was a romantic comedy (OH MY GOD HOW WRONG WAS I??), so I’m genuinely curious to see what he can do with this fun but kind of cheesy video game franchise. Will dramatic scenes inside a courtroom be entwined with graphics yelling OBJECTION? Will our beloved Phoenix Wright go on a date with Maya Fey and end up with needles in his eyeballs? Will Miles Edgeworth turn the corner and come across a witness with a cow’s head? How about an epic final scene where Apollo Justice pulls out a bazooka out of nowhere? I’d totally watch that.
In all seriousness, I admit that it is refreshing to hear movie news about an Asian video game that doesn’t involve any sort of whitewashing–granted, this movie is happening in Japan but the original game is Japanese, so it only makes sense that a Japanese director, production company and talent would be associated with it. I have to ask myself: is this what it feels like when a project sticks with its origin’s culture? I keep thinking back to the horrors of a clearly Caucasian Jake Gyllenhaal portraying the Persian Dastan in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time or all the white people from in Dragon Ball Evolution. Imagine the sigh of relief that fans would have felt if M. Night Shyamalan cast Asian Americans in The Last Airbender or if the latest casting news from the Akira film adaptation involved an Asian actor. What would the uproar had been like if the Ace Attorney movie announcement included an American director and white actors taking the lead roles? Would fans in Japan have even cared? The situation here wouldn’t have been pretty and I’m glad we can rest assured that future investigations by the gaming world’s favorite lawyer would have remained true to its origins. In other words, NO OBJECTIONS!