ADV Films to Make Live-Action Neon Genesis with Weta EFX

Anime producer and distributor ADV Films has acquired the rights to produce a live-action feature film based on the anime television series Neon Genesis Evangelion. The project, already in development, is a collaboration between ADV Films, Japanese anime and game studio Gainax Network Systems and Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings effects juggernaut Weta Workshop Ltd. Gainax was one of the original production studios responsible for Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is the story of a reluctant young hero, called upon to pilot an immense robotic weapon in battle against alien invaders. The 26-episode television debuted in 1995 and has spawned at least two animated motion pictures. Critical acclaim have built the property into a multi-million dollar venture.

While the Neon Genesis brand has little name recognition beyond the ranks of anime enthusiasts, the filmmakers will doubtlessly aim the live-action version squarely at the fan base of the Matrix trilogy, which is highly influenced by anime.

For Weta, the futuristic project will be a leap forward in time. The studio proved that it could realistically create the organic environments and inhabitants of Middle-earth, but bringing Mecha anime to life is an entirely different animal. And speaking of animals, the studio is also gearing up to produce effects for director Peter Jackson’s remake of the 1933 classic King Kong.

The live-action Neon Genesis is still in the earliest stages of development and no release date projections have been announced. It’s possible that the film could compete with producer John Peters’ and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen director Stephen Norrington’s live-action version of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira being made by Warner Bros. or producer Gale Anne Hurd’s and MTV’s live-action take on Peter Cheung’s 1995 MTV anime series Aeon Flux.