[LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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[LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby camilopc1234 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:56 pm

    With a good director who was really into the anime o with a visionary director like David Lynch
    Maybe with Hideaki Anno or his long collaborator (I don’t remember his name) involved as a supervisor (IF whatever both accepted)
    With a good story faithful to the source material
    With good actors that get into the essence of their characters (and a real life Pen Pen hahaaha)
    With a cast that respects the ethnicity of the character (if that still matters)
    With mind blown VFX
    And with a soundtrack homenage to the original series
Cuould really a Evangelion adaptation make justice to the anime?
Last edited by camilopc1234 on Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: [LEAM] Would an Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby SoryuUberAlles » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:57 pm

As for a Live Action version...people talk about an Akira one too, but are there any examples of anime trying to go mainstream in the west through live action, besides the new Ghost in the Shell? Makes you realize what an exceptional idea it really is.

Going by Akira, it's an adaptation that veered wildly from the source but became a cult hit in the West in its own right. I don't know how many people came to it from the manga and felt disappointed. David Lynch might be the an obvious counter-point actually. He did make a very well-regarded, commercially unsuccessful 'cult hit' adaptation of a certain sci-fi franchise. Dune fans I know say they weren't happy with his movie. Which is a shame because I've always loved it.

Oh wait, there was Speed Racer. Whatever a fan might say, it really didn't break through. Anime fandom is a cursed dream, I tell you what.
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Re: [LEAM] Would an Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby pwhodges » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:13 pm

It's not uncommon for anime to go live-action in Japan, though (to take one I know, for instance, Bokura ga Ita - where the anime tells only half the story, but the live-action film goes right to the end). Presumably it's the westernisation and some presumed "standard of quality" or "market expectation" that produces the problem.
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Re: [LEAM] Would an Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Bagheera » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:44 pm

The more successful adaptations in Japan are also SoL/drama pieces, which are much easier to adapt than crazy stuff like giant robots and the like. Sensibilities re: SFX are such that adapting the latter is pretty much a non-starter in the West (and in Japan as well, far as that goes; movies like Attack on Titan and even the Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto flicks seem to do okay at the box office, but they're hardly beating down the door -- no doubt the reason why a LA Eva project hasn't been seriously considered even in Japan).
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Re: [LEAM] Would an Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?... By Hollywood?

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Postby SoryuUberAlles » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:40 pm

View Original Postcamilopc1234 wrote:With good actors that get into the essence of their characters (and a real life Pen Pen)


(I just noticed this) PEN PEN IS NOT REAL. He's a 'hot springs penguin' - he's a hypothetical cross breed between a penguin and the famous Japanese macaque

So there it is right there. SFX barrier.

Um, actually, is it harder to do SFX if it's closely integrated with live action or is it easy to put monkey ears on a penguin these days?
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Re: [LEAM] Would an Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Guy Nacks » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:38 pm

View Original PostSoryuUberAlles wrote:He did make a very well-regarded, commercially unsuccessful 'cult hit' adaptation of a certain sci-fi franchise.


It is not well-regarded, even by Lynch himself and your statement is somewhat of an oxymoron. To this day, he still bristles whenever the subject of Dune comes up and prefers not to talk about it. Yes, it has a cult following, but by and large most people actively dislike that film.


I don't think a live action version should be attempted at all unless it is trying to bring something new and interesting and smart to the table and isn't just a rehash of everything in the series. It also needs to be in capable hands directorially. The only living directors that could feasibly pull this off are Denis Villeneuve, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, and Rian Johnson.

Pen Pen should either not be in the film at all or be in the film, but use a real penguin (not CGI) and play down its inherent ridiculousness. Anime tropes and general goofiness transferred to live action is a recipe for schlock and cringe.

There are other suggestions I could make, but it would be a waste of time and energy. Right now, the chances of a love action Evangelion movie being made ever stands at about 2%. If the GITS film is a hit, it goes up to about 7%.

I'd like to also remind you all that the most critically successful Hollywood film based off a manga or anime is a Tom Cruise movie.
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Re: [LEAM] Would an Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby SoryuUberAlles » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:52 pm

View Original PostGuy Nacks wrote:It is not well-regarded, even by Lynch himself and your statement is somewhat of an oxymoron. To this day, he still bristles whenever the subject of Dune comes up and prefers not to talk about it. Yes, it has a cult following, but by and large most people actively dislike that film.


But that is indeed how it works. He was a classic visionary who was oppressed by the system. He made a film wasn't true enough for the fandom and was too weird for the normies but I think I speak for a large section of the spec-fic viewerdom found it an interesting source interestingly told. The recipe for a cult classic.

Pen Pen should either not be in the film at all or be in the film, but use a real penguin (not CGI) and play down its inherent ridiculousness. Anime tropes and general goofiness transferred to live action is a recipe for schlock and cringe.


Yeah. They do say the only thing that translates worse than mom robots is comedy. Maybe they'll like some stuff more than Japan does though. Like Rei being much more popular than Asuka is over there.

I'd like to also remind you all that the most critically successful Hollywood film based off a manga or anime is a Tom Cruise movie.


I believe it was technically a light novel when it was made into a movie - and that might testify to the fact that power armor and time travel is quite a bit more...'exportable' than Giant Mecha and stuff.
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Re: [LEAM] Would an Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?... By Hollywood?

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Postby El Squibbonator » Sat May 06, 2017 4:28 pm

View Original PostSoryuUberAlles wrote:(I just noticed this) PEN PEN IS NOT REAL. He's a 'hot springs penguin' - he's a hypothetical cross breed between a penguin and the famous Japanese macaque

So there it is right there. SFX barrier.

Um, actually, is it harder to do SFX if it's closely integrated with live action or is it easy to put monkey ears on a penguin these days?


He actually is based on a real species of penguin: the erect-crested penguin, which lives in New Zealand. Look it up, and tell me you don't see it. Even the wikipedia article for the species mentions him!
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Reichu » Sat May 06, 2017 4:45 pm

The mention on Wikipedia is inaccurate, so I took the liberty of removing it. PenPen belongs to a fictional species, not a real one. Also, if we're comparing him to real penguins, how is the erect-crested a better match than any other member of Eudyptes?
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Bagheera » Sat May 06, 2017 5:36 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:The mention on Wikipedia is inaccurate, so I took the liberty of removing it. PenPen belongs to a fictional species, not a real one. Also, if we're comparing him to real penguins, how is the erect-crested a better match than any other member of Eudyptes?


Because most don't have similar crests. The only exception is macaroni penguins, which are IMO a better match. But those are the only two options.
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby pwhodges » Sat May 06, 2017 5:53 pm

There are a number of types with the yellow crests in the Crested Penguins. I've always thought of Pen-Pen as a Rockhopper - though actually they're smaller, I think.
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Bagheera » Sat May 06, 2017 6:05 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:There are a number of types with the yellow crests in the Crested Penguins. I've always thought of Pen-Pen as a Rockhopper - though actually they're smaller, I think.


Their crests curve down, though (though in the case of rockhoppers there's admittedly a lot of individual variation). Macaronis and erect-crested penguins are the only ones that stand upright like Pen Pen's.

The real issue is that Pen Pen's crest is red, for which there is no precedent in the penguin world. I have no idea where that came from.
Last edited by Bagheera on Sat May 06, 2017 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Reichu » Sat May 06, 2017 6:07 pm

Same place as the retractable claws and ability to read newspapers, presumably.
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby ApolloIVtv » Tue May 16, 2017 11:04 pm

I would attribute the LAEM problem with what happened with the Zack Snyder's Watchmen. Not only the idea that things would have to be rearranged or heavily condensed for time purposes and to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, its also that one of the reason why Eva works so well is because it works best primarily in the medium and cultural context it is in, and that's anime and Japan.

Same thing with Watchmen. Alan Moore designed the story purposefully so that it would only work (or at least work best) as a comic and have accentuate what makes the medium unique to other artforms. So the very idea of turning it into a movie goes against the entire purpose of the creator and the story.

Not that a live action adaption should be shunned of course, but I don't think we can expect a live action eva movie to really ever capture what made original so special no matter who works on it.
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sat May 20, 2017 10:09 pm

A live action Eva movie could work.... but it wouldn't be Eva.

It wouldn't be hard to get the superficials right. With the appropriate sized budget the Evangelions would look amazing, the Angels terrifying, Tokyo-3 would come alive & NERV headquarters would come across as a real location.

It's the soul of Evangelion that would be the issue....

The hurdles the story would have to go through alone to secure a budget large enough to make the sci-fi elements feasibly possible would make sure of that. The story is just too adult, too vague, and has too many adaptation problems to carry over to blockbuster territory without turning into something completely different.
The first & most drastic change would have to be the ages of the pilots. You can't risk mounting a (minimum) $150 million production that stars & needs to be carried by 13 year old boys & girls going through the same troubles those characters did on the show/Rebuild films. More mature themes can easily be done in narrative animation because the characters (who are performed by adults anyway) can be animated to look & feel a little older when required of a scene, when dealing with child actors who always look like children a lot of the mature interplay would have to be softened to make it less tragically in your face & have a more broad appeal. If Marvel can't directly deal with stories of Tony Stark's alcoholism (a little sneak into Iron Man 2 does not count) then a blockbuster based on a more obscure property certainly can't deal with a 13 year girl becoming so depressed she tries to kill herself. Plus, of course all the the rampant nudity, sexuality & those super-tight-leave-nothing-to-the-imagination-plugsuits would have to go entirely for obvious reasons. The rapport between Shinji, Rei, Asuka & Kaworu would have to be drastically changed so it's more "broad appeal". At best they could Harry Potter(ize) Evangelion where the kids occasionally feel a little sad, have crushes & engage in relatively bloodless battle scenes.
So in the end to do a blockbuster Eva their ages would probably all be moved up a few years - say 17 to 18 performed by people in their mid 20s - so they could be played by more recognizable names & they could more comfortably deal with some of the material Eva deals with it.
Of course once you age up the kid you set off the chain of reaction where dozens of changes have to be made to the story and how the characters relate. Now there's no reason for them to live with Misato & if they did 18-year-old Shinji's relationship with 30-year-old Misato would be VERY different, possibly school could be removed from the equation or you just embrace that it's senior year of high school or the pilots are in college which changes how those scenes & character relationships play out, as older people the pilots would have more autonomy, Shinji would realistically confront Gendo in a different manner, the people at NERV would treat them differently, etc etc.

In the end, I think a perfectly enjoyable Live Action Evangelion Movie could very well be made. It's certainly not impossible. It would have robots fighting monsters, cool sci-fi visuals, an engaging story that has gone through the Blockbuster Story Generator so it could play in theaters worldwide + set up a series of films, probably a cast of talented actors who can carry off the worst of dialogue, and it would just have all the money up on the screen so every shot would look great. But, there's no way it would feel anything LIKE Evangelion. At best you'd have a Lord of the Rings type scenario where the film/s use the narrative, characters & iconography of the original text in a completely different tone & style. LOTR the books are drastically different than LOTR the movies but both work perfectly fine.

I find Evangelion works best in the medium it's in. Just like Catcher in the Rye works best as a novel & Goodfellas works best as a film & The Office works best as a TV show.

So when it comes to big budget spectacle I'll take Pacific Rim instead. It sure can't touch Eva in regards to character/narrative complexity but it sure does have giant robots punching giant monsters in the face.

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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Ray » Sat May 20, 2017 10:22 pm

View Original PostGendo'sPapa wrote:The first & most drastic change would have to be the ages of the pilots. You can't risk mounting a (minimum) $150 million production that stars & needs to be carried by 13 year old boys & girls going through the same troubles those characters did on the show/Rebuild films.


I dunno, Stranger Things, Logan, Game Of Thrones, and (Hopefully) The IT reboot proved you can have kid actors carry this kind of serious, horrifying subject matter and not have to soften it just because 'theyre kids'.

I agree with most of your other sentiments though. Maybe it could work with a Netflix series? But with the current Hollywood system and concerns over money. It's impossible,

Edit: corrected spelling.
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sat May 20, 2017 11:24 pm

I know where you're coming talking from about the kids ages BUT the difference is in who carries the narrative in the medium. It's not that there are no child actors who can't do the material*, it's the practicalities of selling it as a THEATRICAL feature & getting people to go to the theater. Trailers for a live action Evangelion could push the action setpieces all they want but they'd still have to show it's headlined by a cast that wouldn't be out of place in the new "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movie. Game of Thrones (haven't seen it yet) & Stranger Things are two expensive products streamed directly into the viewers homes so that removes about 100% of the risk of people not going to see it. Everyone who paid to see Logan was going because it was Hugh Jackman's last performance in the role of his career that they'd seen him perform over 17 years. The badass girl was a welcome addition. IT is a curious case but that book has seeped into all aspects of pop culture & is really being sold as a (mostly**) faithful adaptation of arguably Stephen King's best novel. + Of course budgeting is the big reason too. For Logan to get that R rating & feature that girl it was the smallest budgeted X-Men movie*** since the first one came out in 2000 but since Logan mostly takes place in abandoned junkyards & forests & doesn't deal with world threatening events that helps keep the budget down. And the IT movie apparently has a budget of about $25 million (though I've been told it's actually as low as $15 million) so that removes millions of risks on a studio. As long as that film brings in 1 out of every 20 people who has read a Stephen King book in the past decade it will turn a healthy profit. Of course, even then the studio is still so uncertain it will turn a profit they haven't properly greenlit IT: PART TWO where they'll tell the adult part of the novel.

Now if Netflix or HBO did it as a series - or a film because Netflix is in that game now having spent $50 million on Boon Joon Ho's OKJA, over $100 million on Martin Scorsese's next film & they're paying for the DEATH NOTE adaptation - yes there would certainly be more freedom and they could probably find a way to do a live action version with an age appropriate cast once they change the plugsuits to be something less in your face sexual & more like battle armor. They'd still probably sadly cast it with all white people & only feature Asian actors in background or antagonist roles but that's a whole different story.

So yeah, a great live action Eva could be made. But it won't be Eva. For all the stars to align for someone to be given the chance to make a project like the anime with the budget it would need - we're talking something approaching the budget of a Marvel AVENGERS movie just to do the 1st one - is almost impossible & if it did I've be very impressed if a filmmaker could even do it justice.****

So it's not impossible. Just improbable.*****

*Though I stand by the fact no studio is never going to put a camera on a 13 year old girl or boy in one of those skin tight plugsuits.
**I highly doubt for obvious reason the IT movie coming out this September is not going to end with the six boys running a train on Beverly Marsh to "lose their innocence". Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
***Not counting Deadpool.
**** Find me a filmmaker who could convince a studio to release a movie in 10,000 theaters worldwide that includes a sequence where a real 13 year old playing Shinji falls on a naked 13 year old girl playing Rei & every screening doesn't end with the cops bursting into the theater to arrest the entire audience & you'll have a filmmaker who could do anything!
***** The failure of recent "anime-esque" projects doesn't help things either of course. Ghost in the Shell just lost Paramount something close to $100 to $125 million once you include the cost of marketing. Pacific Rim is only getting a sequel because of the Chinese audience & because about 50% of the sequel's budget is being handled by China. All of Lionsgates talk of doing a total of SIX Power Rangers movies has died off as the first film lost them north of $80 million (the new Power Rangers movie opened in China beneath the new King Arthur movie) & that series at least had some kind of USA brand recognition. The Pokemon movie should turn a profit but otherwise I don't think any studio is looking to adapt new anime or anime like projects.
I don't know what Warner Brothers sees in AKIRA though based on some of their recent mega-flops I guess they just like losing money - JUPITER ASCENDING: negative $100 million, Guy Ritchie's THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: negative about $75 million, PAN: negative about $150 million, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA: negative way over $100 million, LIVE BY NIGHT: negative $75 million, & now Guy Ritchie's (again?) KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD which looks like it will lose then over $150 million. That sounds like the studio that is willing to lose over $100 million on a live action Akira starring that white guy from the movie that came out last week & probably Chris Hemsworth or Charlie Hunnam.

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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Guy Nacks » Sat May 20, 2017 11:45 pm

EDIT: most of my points below were ninja'd by GendosPapa. I agree with just about everything he posted.

The only way a LAEM would be able to do justice to the source without comprimising facets of the story for broad market appeal would be if it's being done by a well-known filmmaker who has the clout and influence to do so, but even then they might be pressured by the studio to make a more generic film.

The problem is essentially that a LAEM would have to have an astronomical budget in order to be made. The entire story cannot possibly be told in one film and the amount of special effects work that would have to be done is very high.

Game of Thrones had an established fan base comprised of book readers as well as an entire legion of potential fans who came of age during the high fantasy era of the LOTR films which were tremendously popular. Executives rightly figured that it would have crossover appeal to people who liked the LOTR films, but wanted a more adult tale.

Stranger Things banked heavily on 80s nostalgia with combined elements from the most popular and beloved films of that era.

Logan had an established franchise and was heavily billed as the farewell performance of the actor who is basically the figurehead of the entire saga. Asses would be guaranteed in seats, so it was the perfect opportunity to take a risk with a ballsier, R-rated film.

IT is based off one of THE most popular Stephen King books of all time.

Evangelion is in a super niche market. How are you going to make the required half a billion dollars worldwide without having to turn yourself into a glorified transformers clone to get people's attention?
Among the people who use the Internet, many are obtuse. Because they are locked in their rooms, they hang on to that vision which is spreading across the world. But this does not go beyond mere ‘data’. Data without analysis [thinking], which makes you think that you know everything. This complacency is nothing but a trap. Moreover, the sense of values that counters this notion is paralyzed by it.

And so we arrive at demagogy. - Hideaki Anno, 1996

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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Ray » Sun May 21, 2017 12:10 am

**** Find me a filmmaker who could convince a studio to release a movie in 10,000 theaters worldwide that includes a sequence where a real 13 year old playing Shinji falls on a naked 13 year old girl playing Rei & every screening doesn't end with the cops bursting into the theater to arrest the entire audience & you'll have a filmmaker who could do anything!


Terrence Malick convinced New Line Cinema to let him cast a 14 YEAR OLD Q'Orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas in The New World. Complete with topless scenes and naked erotic swimming with DEFINITELY adult Colin Farell. To my knowledge, nobody involved is currently serving hard time for that.
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Re: [LAEM] Would an american Evangelion live-action movie have ever worked if it had been done right?

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sun May 21, 2017 12:54 am

I've watched that movie a good half dozen times (loved it & actually got to do some uncredited PA work with the costume crew on it for two days) & while there was some heavy petting between the two I don't recall any full on nude shots of her or anything that would be over the line objectionable. But again, we're talking different worlds of filmmaking. The New World was a $30 million prestige art picture that New Line was hoping would lead to Oscar glory. A live action Evangelion would cost anywhere north of $200 million after marketing is included (probably closer to just shy of $400 million) and would need to play to a packed house in a small town in the middle of Kentucky. Different worlds all together.

Either way, a joke is a joke that should not be taken literal*. And yes, Malick is a truly amazing filmmaker & if he wanted to do Evangelion I would be okay with all the creative liberties he would take.

*Not a joke/PSA: Hollywood is terrible when it comes to punishing criminals. Actual there's-no-doubt-about-it-because-he-videotaped-it child rapist Victor Salva has shot & will release Jeepers Creepers 3 this September. If his movie actually plays in theaters don't support it.


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