The amount of tokusatsu shows in Japan are numerous, but Ultraman remains as one of the most iconic heroes in the genre. So after a sixteen-year-old lawsuit got settled and with a growing amount of foreign fans, we could be seeing Ultraman in the states, albeit in its first English language debut. Apparent talks have went down to figure out their best A-list candidate which have narrowed down to Will Smith as a possible candidate of the larger than life hero.
Word of this development came from the Nuke The Fridge Con 2013 which took place this past weekend. Sompote Saengduenchai, legendary Thai filmmaker and licensee of Ultraman outside of Japan, was in attendance and signed autographs for fans and a release of a "Ultraman Forever," a commemorative book which celebrates Ultraman's 50th annniversary along with the Japanese/American crossover film for "King Kong vs. Godzilla." According to a source inside Sompote's entourage, there has been talks about a Kaiju style film ala Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim, only this feature film will have Ultraman as the lead hero.
Also coming from that rumor, Will Smith emerged as an actor of interest to be playing Ultraman. We're not sure why he'd be a worthy candidate for the giant-sized hero, but it may be because he has been in science-fiction films before. Now, before you Ultraman fans start condemning Will Smith, just remember that this project is still in development so he may be just one actor in a possible shortlist of others being sought after for the role.
If this does go through however, we might see some blood boil. We can't forget the backlash of Japanese-to-American adaptations in production, especially when the American live-action film version of Akira was a controversial project in 2011, where a plot for the film was introduced at the time. Rumors then swirled that the Akira project was in trouble due to financial obstacles and then thought to be shutdown, until it was revealed this past summer that it is still in development. This new Ultraman film might share the same amount of disgust from fans from what we've learned from Akira's example.
According to Saengduenchai, they are hoping to release this film around 2016. We'll bring more news on this story as this project continues, but if you had a choice to play an American Ultraman, who would you choose?
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