It’s got teen drama and it’s got action, so on some theoretical level Kinji Fukasaku’s hyperviolent dystopic 2000 drama about a middle school class sent to an island to fight to the death has the elements of a solid television series. But it’s still a little mind-boggling to read from Steven Zeitchik in the LA Times that “Battle Royale” is being looked at as a possible adaptation for the CW network:
In the last few weeks, the CW has had talks with the project’s Hollywood representatives about the possibility of turning the property into an English-language show, said a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak about it publicly. The talks were preliminary, but if a deal could be reached, the network would acquire rights to Koushun Takami’s underlying novel, then unpack and expand on it for an hourlong dramatic series.
Asked about the CW talks, Joyce Jun, a Hollywood attorney representing U.S. rights to the title, would say only that “there is no deal in place.” A CW spokesman confirmed only there had been some discussion but declined to comment further.
A US film adaptation of “Battle Royale” has been in the works for years, never seeming to get very far despite the involvement of producer Roy Lee, who’s enabled the American remakes of “The Ring,” “The Grudge,” “Dark Water,” “The Lake House” and others. The original film only officially received a DVD release here in March of this year.
If a “Battle Royale” series happens — and it’s still far from a done deal — the show would have to deal with the issue of a template that, if at all faithful to the source material, would involve gradually killing off the majority of the cast. But maybe that’d be a blessing in diguise — instead of worrying over how to deal with staleness in a romance between two characters, the show could just have one or both of them wiped out. And it would probably scare away any actors’ salary disputes.
“Battle Royale” would be the second post-apocalyptic series that the CW is looking at — the network’s also developing “The Selection,” a “Hunger Games”-meets-“The Bachelor”-style futuristic romance based on the novels by Kiera Cass in which a group of girls is chosen by lottery to compete for the crown.
Here’s a clip from “Battle Royale” in which the rules of the game are laid out in a disurbingly cheery fashion: