Illumination to Produce Tezuka/Urasawa’s Pluto Pic

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Osamu Tezuka fans can celebrate the fact that Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment is teaming up with Tezuka Productions to produce a live-action/CG hybrid movie based on Pluto, a best-selling manga penned by Naoki Urasawa inspired by Tezuka’s creation. Universal will release the fantasy pic.

Urasawa’s Pluto, which he collaborated with Takashi Nagasaki, updates the characters from Tezuka’s iconic Astro Boy series and brings an action-filled saga set in a world populated by giant robots and cybernetic citizens. The pic will be exec produced by Macoto Tezka. First introduced in 2003, Pluto is named after the Greatest Robot on Earth’s chief villain and centers on a Europol robot detective named Gesicht who is trying to solve the case of a string of robot and human deaths. The manga also makes various references to other characters in Tezuka’s Star Sytem, including Black Jack, Robita and minor Astro Boy characters.

Meledandri’s animated hits have amassed over $2 billion globally and include Ice Age, Ice Age 2, Robots, Horton Hears a Who and The Simpsons Movie. Most recently, his new banner, Illumination Entertainment, released the film Despicable Me which has become the 10th highest grossing animated film of all time in the US.

He noted, “With Pluto, Naoki Urasawa has defined an imaginative world full of inventive action and adventure but it was his characters and heartfelt story that compelled me towards acquiring these rights. I am privileged to be working with Tezuka, a company with an illustrious history and with Urasawa, one of our most gifted contemporary writers.”

“I have been a big fan of The Greatest Robot on Earth since I was a child,” said Urasawa.  “But I never thought I would remake the episode into Pluto.  It was a tremendous challenge for me.  Now another challenge, turning Pluto into a live action movie, has appeared.  As a big fan of Tezuka, I would like to watch it with a lot of expectation.”

Tezka added, “The collaboration between Osamu Tezuka and Naoki Urasawa was big news in the manga world.  It was as if Takeshi Kitano encountered Akira Kurosawa or Lucas remade Stagecoach into Star Wars.  If the talents of global film artists are added to the work, surely the excitement will be multiplied.  I hope the movie will become an epoch-making masterpiece produced under a good partnership between Japan and Hollywood.”