Viz Productions has announced that they will be adapting Sayuri Ueda’s short story, The Street Of Fruiting Bodies, into a feature length film. Furthermore, they have announced that Sam Hamm, the screenwriter of 1989’s Batman and its sequel Batman Returns, has been added on to write the film’s screenplay.
The production company is an offshoot to Viz Media, the official distributor of most manga in North America. Viz Productions, based in Los Angeles, California, acts as a mediator between Japanese material and American film companies. The company’s purpose is to help communication between both parties, and to encourage the involvement of Japanese creators in the film’s development process. The first contribution from Viz Media was Edge of Tomorrow, a live action film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. The film is an adaption of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s light novel, All You Need Is Kill.
Viz Media’s official synopsis of the story is as follows:”‘The Street of Fruiting Bodies’ depicts the sudden spread of a mysterious and lethal species of hallucinogenic mushroom. The infestation is deadly, but it also offers visions of deceased loved ones to the infected, hinting at the reality of an afterlife, or at least a new kind of existence that is beyond human comprehension.”
Some viewers have questioned the choice in material. It doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of story that makes a feature film, though some have speculated the potential ‘trippy’ feeling the film could bring. One question it raises, how much of the film will stay true to the plot in terms of setting? Most movies with an Asian background have been moved to a North American setting, or had the cast replace with white actors. Will the film adaption of The Street Of Fruiting Bodies do the same? Will the infection spread only in one city, or will it be worldwide, opening the possibility of having a multiracial cast with characters from all walks of life?
The Street Of Fruiting Bodies was included in September’s Phantasm Japan: Fantasies Light And Dark, From And About Japan. The book, released by Viz Media, is a collection of Japanese short stories by many noted authors.