While his Sundance sensation “Minari” is still on the hook for release from A24 Films, director Lee Isaac Chung has just landed a major new project with the live-action reimagining of the beloved 2016 Japanese animated fantasy, “Your Name.” Chung will write and direct the film, which will be produced by Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams and Genki Kawamura, producer on the original film, with Toho handling distribution in Japan and Paramount Pictures releasing in other territories. The news was first reported by Deadline.
The original “Your Name” was shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and while it didn’t land among the final five nominees, the film was a huge success in Japan and worldwide, grossing more than $350 million in total. The animated film tells the story of a high school boy living in Tokyo, and a high school girl living in a rural town, who become inexplicably linked and begin to swap bodies. They must join forces to stop an impending disaster. A live-action revamp has reportedly been in the works since 2017.
The son of Korean immigrants who grew up in Arkansas before he went on to attend Yale University, Chung made his feature debut with 2007’s “Munyurangabo,” a selection of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard that year and winner of the Grand Prize at AFI Fest. He went on to direct “Lucky Life” and “Abigail Harm.” “Minari,” autobiographically centered on a Korean-American family living in small-town Arkansas, stars “Burning” and “The Walking Dead” favorite Steven Yeun, and was produced by Plan B and A24. The drama won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize as well as the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award back in Park City in January, but remains undated from A24.
In his rave “A” grade review out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Senior Film Critic David Ehrlich wrote, “Told with the rugged tenderness of a Flannery O’Connor novel but aptly named for a resilient Korean herb that can grow wherever it’s planted, Lee Isaac Chung’s semi-autobiographical ‘Minari’ is a raw and vividly remembered story of two simultaneous assimilations; it’s the story of a family assimilating into a country, but also the story of a man assimilating into his family.”