The highly acclaimed director is taking on the reins of the highly anticipated adaptation–but will he satisfy Japanese fans?

As time goes on, more and more information is trickling out about the Hollywood adaptation of the extremely popular and highly-acclaimed Japanese animated film Your Name. First, the fact that J.J. Abrams would be the producer came out, which had us all pretty excited, and then we heard that the reimagined script might have a westernized viewpoint starring a Native American girl and a boy from Chicago, which intrigued us.

It also came out that Mark Webb, director of the Amazing Spiderman series as well as 500 Days of Summer, would be taking on the helm of directing the film, which was, frankly, a little worrisome. Hollywood-produced live-action remakes of Japanese anime don’t tend to turn out well at all, and someone with as mixed a reputation as Webb might not produce the kind of work we fans want and expect from Your Name.

But last week it was announced that directorship had changed hands from Webb to Lee Isaac Chung, a lesser-known director who nevertheless has earned the recognition of many critics over the years. Having had great success with his debut film Munyurangabo at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, and more recently at three other festivals with his latest film, Minari, Chung might not have world fame, but he has a good track record. Will he take the film in the right direction? It’s hard to say, especially since the film seems to be changing hands–and scripts–fairly frequently.

▼ Lee Isaac Chung

Japanese fans of Your Name, or Kimi no na wa as it’s called in Japanese, understandably have very high expectations of the Hollywood film, and not all of them are sure about having a relatively unknown director take the reins of their beloved story.

“Ahh everything’s all messed up”
“Who is Lee Isaac Chung?”
“Since the story is supposed to be about a Native American girl and a Chicago boy, can he provide the right perspective of a Native American character?”
“The plot doesn’t even sound interesting. I don’t care about the Hollywood film, whether Chung directs it or not.”
“Mr. Chung! I’m counting on you.
Please make it an interesting film. I love Your Name.”
“Making live-action movies out of anime is stupid in itself, but this decision is the nail in the coffin.”

An alarming amount of people–likely Japanese nationalists who are always the most vocal–expressed concerns about Chung’s Korean heritage, believing that, despite the fact that he was born and raised in the U.S., he’d be injecting anti-Japanese rhetoric into the film. Chung doesn’t appear to have ever expressed any sentiments critical of Japan, especially not in his movies, so these worries appear unfounded.

He has, on the other hand, received plenty of praise for Munyurangabo and Minari, so maybe we can hope that the Hollywood adaptation of Your Name is in good hands. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Source: Anime Hack via My Game News Flash, Twitter/リー・アイザック・チョン
Top image: Your Name Official Website

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