EXCLUSIVE: Lee Isaac Chung will rewrite and direct Paramount, Bad Robot and Toho’s live-action adaptation of Your Name, the reimagined adaptation of the 2016 animated romantic fantasy drama film which was an instant classic in Japan. Chung will work off the draft by Emily V. Gordon. The script was originally written by Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer.
Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams will produce along with Genki Kawamura, who produced the original. Toho will handle distribution of the film in Japan with Paramount releasing in all other territories. In this reimagined version, two teenagers discover they are magically and intermittently swapping bodies. When a disaster threatens to upend their lives, they must journey to meet and save their worlds.
The original anime pic is still one of Japan’s biggest hits grossing $303 million in Japan alone and when the rights went on the market in 2017, it was instantly one of the hotter rights packages on the market. With Abrams being such a big fan of the original, Paramount and Bad Robot moved fast to acquire the rights to the hit.
As for its new director, Chung is a son of Korean immigrants who grew up on a small farm in rural Arkansas and then attended Yale University, before abandoning plans for medical school to earn his MFA. His debut film Munyurangabo premiered at Cannes to great acclaim. Chung’s latest film Minari with Plan B and A24 won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at Sundance 2020.
He is repped by CAA.