I dunno if it's been asked before, but is there even a remote possibility of the liveaction film ever being made? It's a franchise with a cult following (a largeish one, but still... it's not 'popular' by the general definition) and parts of it are probably not very return-on-investment friendly. We could all be debating about something that wouldn't happen for 25 years, or at all.
If I were a studio, I'd probably not do Eva for a lot of the reasons mentioned (dark tone, franchise not everyone has heard of it, etc.) but ... I may be opening a massive can of worms here... I wouldn't make it because of the already-existing fanbase, because while the ultimate goal is to market it to a larger segment, you'd still need enough of the original fans to not pan it.. because Eva doesn't have much of a mainstream following.
To go back to Transformers, I've seen plenty of "geewunners" who bitched and cried about "Bayformers" but they didn't matter because it was the Transformers
movie, and anyone under the age of 35 has probably heard of and probably had watched the Transformers. And those older probably bought the toys for their kids at one point. So, the movie succeeded in spite of the whingy fanboys who wanted everything to look like the 1980's toyline, and for the story to be only about the Transformers and take place only on an alien world and to have a glam metal soundtrack. The major general popularity helped cancel out the 'hardcore' fan contingent.
Evangelion never had that major popularity, in America (Japan is naturally a whole other case), that Transformers enjoyed. Therefore, the hardcore fan contingent (and I don't mean anything personally to anyone here) is of larger consequence... but the problem with anime fans in general, is thanks to a lot of the cutting/editing/censoring of anime in its earlier days of being imported... they're now incredibly touchy about any
editing of Japanese franchises.
For example, there's people who are mad that in Final Fantasy 8, they changed Zell's burning desire for a loaf of bread to trying to get a hot dog. Despite the fact that the bread thing only makes sense in Japan due to bread not being as available there (and in America you can just pick it up at a convince store), and while the hotdog thing didn't quite have the same 'rarity' connotation, it was absolutely hilarious
And now, thanks to many of the anime fanbase now working their way into the jobs where they now translate and edit for English-language release, so we get some of the most awkward
translations, because they so desperately want to capture the 'original feel'. I used to read manga, but I recently picked one off the shelf, and the comic book in question had the most awkward sentence phrasing and terrible choices of words, and weird uses of Japanese idioms that make no sense in English... and ugh. I don't want to have to use a "Japanese Cultural Guide" to understand a comic book about ninjas and wizards. Another example is the Haruhi anime's use of the term 'moe'... while it doesn't have a direct
translation in English, it does
have many words for the different connotations... the word 'cute' would've perfectly covered what Haruhi was saying. And you have the benefit of using an actual English word that you don't need to explain, because it's an English translation! Astounding! ...I want Ted Woolsely back, he might've changed things, but his changes didn't suck... and he understood 'English language sentence structure'
My whole point? You can't win with anime fans sometimes. You either change things to make it friendlier for a mass audience and have them pan your movie, or you don't change things and the mass audience just goes: "WTF I don't like this."
Honestly, If I were a director, and I wanted to adapt a mecha anime... I'd just do Gundam. It's got more fans, said fanbase might be more receptive to changes due to all the AU Gundam settings, plenty of people watched it when they were 15 and Gundam Wing was on air, it's actually had an on-air anime in both Japan and America within even this year (Gundam 00), and it's a name your mom might've heard of.
I had a point in there, somewhere. I think it was: "I doubt this movie would get made"