EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has made a deal with Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders to direct Ghost In The Shell, a live-action film based on the Japanese manga futuristic police thriller that has a new script from William Wheeler. The film is being produced by Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul. Fueled by the personal passion of Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks acquired the project several years ago with ambitious plans to shoot it in 3D.
Created by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell was first published in 1989 by Kodansha, one of the largest publishing companies in Japan. It went on to generate two additional manga editions, three anime film adaptations, an anime TV series and three videogames. DreamWorks released the second anime film.
The story follows the exploits of a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime.
Wheeler scripted Hoax and The Reluctant Fundamentalist and most recently completed the Robert Schwentke-attached serial killer Entering Hades for New Regency as well as Queen of Katwe, a true story about a young female chess prodigy from Africa, which has Reluctant Fundamentalist helmer Mira Nair attached. The UTA/Anonymous Content-repped scribe also scripted Brand, a USA Network project that has Jodie Foster attached to direct.
Sanders has several directing projects percolating, and it isn’t clear which film he’ll helm next. He’s got 90 Church with Universal and producer Joe Roth, an epic about the bloody battles of Napoleon Bonaparte at Warner Bros, and he’s developing Juliet for Sony and New Regency, with Charles Roven producing, as well as the screen adaptation of the Frederick Forsyth thriller The Kill List for producers Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz and Nick Wechsler. Sanders is repped by CAA and attorney Carlos Goodman and in the UK by Duncan Heath and Jack Thomas at Independent Talent Group.