See you (soon), Space Cowboy…

I don’t pretend that I’m an expert when it comes to anime. I just know what I like. Cowboy Bebop, I like.

It’s set in the not-so-distant future (2071), focussing on the adventures of a team of bounty hunters, who fly through space and catch contracts for bad guys on the good ship Bebop. With a funky western feel and jazz soundtrack, this 1998 anime wound it’s way into a lot of people’s hearts and souls.

With moviemakers turning every book, game and anime into a live-action film, of course Bebop would eventually fall onto someone’s radar. For a couple of years now, we’ve been hearing rumours good and bad surrounding this anime’s translation to the live action silver screen.

But what can we expect? Will it remain true to the feel of the anime, manga, game, and 2001 anime movie? Or will it look nothing like the series we know and love (aka, Dragonball Evolution. Good grief, they better not). When the word of the film and it’s star set forth into the plains of the interweb, you can probably imagine the response. Tears. Rants. Rage. Etc.


There’s really not that much info out there, at the moment. If you already know and love Cowboy Bebop, you’ve undoubtedly heard that Keanu Reeves will play Spike Spiegel. The film will be produced by Fox (everyone’s favourite studio), who will (thankfully) be working closely with Sunrise Animation and a number of other Bebop originals.

As for release date? The film is currently in the stages of being rewritten, but IMDB has it listed as 2011. Keanu Reeves has been quoted in September 2009 saying “the writer (Peter Craig) did such a great job in order to make the movie you would need half a billion dollars!”

Knowing Fox’s uncanny ability to dumb great stuff down, I’m hoping against hope we get to see a lot of the half-billion dollar version, particularly since Craig has said he is sticking as close to the original feel of the anime as possible. Sunrise, who have insisted upon retaining a high level of control over the quality of the project (thank god!), have been quoted saying “if the script is terrible, the live-action film adaption will not be approved.”

So…I’m keeping optimistic about the outcome, particularly – and I thought I’d NEVER say this – about Reeve’s inclusion as Spike. I wasn’t so keen on the idea at first, but now? Apparently, he was a driving force behind the film to start with, so I daresay he’s a huge fan already – and will want to do it justice. And think about Spike’s attitude; it’s minimalist. Reeves can do that.

Regardless of how it turns out, anything Bebop related will generate support and hype for the original, and that deserves all the attention it can get.

The big question I want answered is, who will the rest of the characters be played by? Faye, Jet, Ed, Vicious, Julia…etc. The movie doesn’t even appear to have a director yet, so who knows how long it will be until it makes some ground on the casting front.

Until then…here’s a fun little fanvid I found – a speculative Bebop live action trailer, with a Wolfmother soundtrack:

See you, Space Cowboy…soon, I hope.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar photo Nim says:

    While researching this article, I came across a bunch of suggestions for the other characters that I didn’t mind:
    Bruce Willis as Jet (some people seem determined to see this as a reality, accepting nobody but him!)
    Annasophia Robb (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Bridge to Terabithia) for Ed. If she can go from being blonde to crazy-red, she gets my vote, despite the teaser fan trailer having Summer Glau as an option (thus my Firefly loyalty kicking in)…
    Christina Ricci as Faye. I reckon this’d work…
    Gweneth Paltrow as Julia. She has the hair. That’s what’s important of course 😛 joke.
    What a star-studded cast it would be if all of these came true 😛 !

  2. malice says:

    First they want to make a live action akira (with leonard de caprio in it somehow) and now this. Personally I feel certain things should remain sacred as these cannot improve on the origional. Before posting this I racked my brain for conversions tha have been done in the past and mostly camer up with comic books which for the most part worked out well (spiderman, x-men and hellboy to name a few), but so far there has mostly just been alot of talk about anime and manga conversions mostly just death note, blood and the dragonball evolution movies. all three of which were a bit disappointing.

    I think this happens because comic books are generally pretty simple, which makes for easy conversion, show the origin story for good dudes and bad dude (sometimes it’s the same story) and then have a few fight scence, a little bit of plot and a final battle and we’re done (ok ghost world was nothing like this but it was crap so it doesn’t count). All in all the comics hollywood has used have had a simpilish plot (i’m not counting watchmen so please don’t bitch but it was only 12 comics and a straight conversion). on the other hand animes often have a complex and obscure plot which can take rewatching them over and over again to understand (or like the last 2 episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion you will never understand them) or they make several series so that you have time to get a deeper understanding. this depth is always lost when converting anime/manga to movies, the reviewed neon genesis had to cut a entire character and it is four movies long. all in all I think hollywood should just try coming up with origional ideas like game designers, authors, anime writers and even in some cases tv writers are still able to do. But seriously whats next, live action My neighbor totoro?

    Ok I just remebered a great conversion, Battle royale but it was japanese so it doesn’t count.

  3. Avatar photo Nim says:

    I know what you mean. But really, when it comes to translations to the silver screen these days, we either have to roll with it, or be constantly disappointed and bitter! I agree with you regarding most conversions, but think about it; the original studio are retaining tight quality control; the writer is insisting on remaining true to the vibe of the show, etc. I was impressed to read that Reeves had personally visited Sunrise Animation several times to gain their inclusion on the project.
    I want to remain optimistic about this one…so sue me 😛

  4. malice says:

    I recon ron perlman as jet because of his character off sin city mixed with hellboy (i’m starting to feel like a hellboy otaku (i’m gonna go cudle my liz sherman full body pillow till i feel better)). I don’t think keanu has the acting range for spike but so thats a bit disappointing but if he does somehow manage to go against all his previous roles (constantine was blonde damn you) and pull it off he will probably be appearing in alot of movies in future. edward and faye will be interesting though because faye is sluty smart and edward is crazy/smart/cute/weird as hell which are things i haven’t seen really done well by any american actresses so far.

  5. Avatar photo Nim says:

    Actually…yes. Ron Perlman would be teh AWESOME. Good pick!

    The main thing I try to remember when picturing Keanu as Spike is…well, minimalist, as I said in the article. Spike doesn’t overdo anything. He doesn’t react (overly so) to *anything*. Given Keanu’s er…skill? It should work! 😛

    Yeah, Ed and Faye will be controversial, no doubt. Summer Glau is someone I’d not thought of, who could pull off Ed, though. She can totally do crazy.

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