EXCLUSIVE: After recently wrapping production on Bullet Train, Sony Pictures is eyeing another popular Japanese IP adaptation. Sources tell Deadline that Julius Avery has been set to direct Gantz for the studio.
Based on the manga series written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku, the script will be adapted by Marc Guggenheim, with Temple Hill producing. Insiders add that the project is still in early development with no production start date set.
The series tells the story of Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, both of whom died in a train accident and become part of a semi-posthumous “game” in which they and several other recently deceased people are forced to hunt down and kill aliens armed to the teeth with all sorts of futuristic weapons and gadgets.
The series has had a handful of anime series and Japanese feature adaptations; given how much Hollywood sees this genre as having a big market in the years to come, the studio is very high on the property.
Sony also recently finished production on Bullet Train, which is based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetleby bestselling author Kotaro Isaka. The film is directed by David Leitch and features an all-star cast that includes Brad Pitt, Michael Shannon, Joey King, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry and Sandra Bullock.
As for Avery, the sought director who made a name for himself with the World War II-zombie pic Overlord continues to add high-profile properties to his development slate. He recently was tapped by Universal and James Wan to write and direct a new Van Helsing film for the studio. As for what’s next, he has the action thriller Samaritan bowing next summer.
Avery is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.