Announced nearly five years ago and having seen very little updates since, the live-action Hollywood adaptation of Masahi Kishimoto’s insanely popular shonen manga Naruto has received an update to its production status in the form of an official casting call for principal roles in the film.
The casting call for Naruto comes from Lionsgate and Summit Films and was first shared by entertainment reporter Daniel Richtman, known for his exclusive scoops regarding film production news, in a May 13th post on his Patreon page.
According to the casting call, the studios have begun to seek actors and actresses for their central cast of characters, seeking to cast “3 Leads,” “2 instructors,” and one “Villain” and specifying that the actors must be “Asian,” likely to respect the series’ Eastern origins:
Two Male, One Female (14 – 18) Asian
High school aged Asian teen guys at the Ninja academy.
Supporting Unknown Asian
Supporting Unknown Asian”
The casting call also indicates that the current writer for the film is Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, The Night Before), replacing previously reported screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber (Battleship, The Meg).
A log line, providing little information outside of the extremely basic premise that the film will focus on the titular Naruto, was also released:
“Naruto Uzumaki is a teenage ninja who dreams of becoming the community’s leader and protector by becoming the village ninja.”
The three leads, two male and one female, are almost undoubtedly the series’ young protagonists and members of Team 7: Naruto Uzumaki , Sakura Haruno, and Sasuke Uchicha.
While many prominent shinobi have played the role of Naruto’s teacher throughout the series, two were most important to his growth and development at the beginning of his journey: Iruka Umino, who showed Naruto sympathy and support before eventually helping him graduate from the Academy, and Kakashi Hatake, the man who would further train Naruto in the shinobi arts.
Unfortunately, the ‘villain’ role is almost too ambiguous for speculation. Chronologically, the first true villain encountered by Team 7 is the murderous swordsman Zabuza Momochi, followed by the two Akatsuki members Kisame Hoshigaki and Itachi Uchiha.
However, as Hollywood films are prone to condensing lengthy plots to more palatable run times for general audiences, it’s possible that audiences could even see an adaptation, at least partly, of the Sasuke Recovery Mission which features Orochimaru as the film’s core antagonist.
As of writing, no updates to the casting call have been reported and no actor or actress has been confirmed in any role.
First announced in 2015, the Naruto film adaptation is set to be co-produced by Avi Arad founded Arad Productions (Ghost in the Shell, Venom) and PICTURESTART (The Spy Who Dumped Me, The Hunger Games series), with Michael Gracey (The Greatest Showman, Miraculous) slated to direct.