The Your Name Remake Will Be Americanised, According To Its Screenwriter

The Your Name Remake Will Be Americanised, According To Its Screenwriter
The poster for <em>Your Name.</em> (Image: Toho)

Ever since that whole Ghost in the Shell live-action debacle, audiences have been wary of how the J.J. Abrams-produced Your Name remake would adapt its source material. Would the live-action film stay close to Makoto Shinkai’s original film, or would it do the thing that most American anime adaptations do and, well, make it American? Turns out, it will be the latter…and that’s exactly how the original rights holders want it.

In an interview with /Film, screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Arrival) shared some of the first new information on the Abrams-produced Your Name remake since it was first announced last year. He said his original story pitch was one of 20 to 30 submissions that was handed to the rights holders (the movie is being developed in collaboration with Toho), who specifically requested that the Hollywood version of Your Name be “Westernized,” instead of recreating the original Japanese setting and story.

“They stated if they wanted a Japanese live-action version, they would just do it themselves. But they want to see it through the lens of a Western viewpoint,” Heisserer said. “You have to find the best iteration of that story based on the fact that they want an American live-action version of the film.”

This is either unfortunate or an opportunity (or both), depending on how you look at it. On one hand, the original anime is all about the growing separation of urban and rural life in Japan—in this case, with the rural area being a town literally out of time—and the delicate balance between ancient tradition and modernity. It’s hard to picture that type of storyline holding the same sway here, given how the United States is less than 300 years old and made up of so many different cultures.

On the other hand, much like 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, which centered around a Chinese-American protagonist, there is an opportunity to have Your Name feature Japanese-American characters and their own experiences. It’s a way to tell an American story, one that’s largely missing from the box office, but also give us an American anime remake that isn’t whitewashed. And whether or not this is the story Abrams and company have gone with, I really hope this version of Your Name isn’t whitewashed. We don’t need another Scarlett Johansson situation. And according to the screenwriter, we won’t get one.

“I can say that [my script] was not a Ghost in the Shell-like version,” Heisserer said.

Fingers crossed.


  • Of course, replace meteor with Atom bomb, set the show about American boy living in a slum and upper class Japanese girl. Exchange body to experience different class of society, treats it as a dream.

    American boy saved the Japanese family by telling them to flee Nagasaki before the Atom bomb hits.

    They meet many years later in America, boy became successful chairman of some company, walks out of the building going to grab a hotdog, pass by a girl that was going to order hotdog because ffs they ate hotdog during their body exchange. “You are?!??!” ends.

  • This seems like it could be interesting.

    Also really bringing up whitewashing… That term is the definition of double standards, and by that I mean anything that has an actor/actress that is white playing a character that was not white in other iterations is deemed ‘disgusting’ and labelled as whitewashing but when it’s the other way around its called ‘progressive’.

    Call me a horrible person, but God damn its the truth. What about you guy’s what’s your opinion on this matter?

  • Eh. People with brains can watch the original with subtitles. Idiots can watch Mila kunis and Bieber in the American version. And on life goes.

  • America is less than 300 years old? According to wikipedia there was major colonisation in 1607 that’s over 400 years for a start. And that’s ignoring earlier colonisation and the native Americans. Anyway… it doesn’t really matter how old the country is, you really only need three or four generations for the story to work. Since only people who are alive can remember what it was like. For a 20 year old traditional living involves having internet all the time and a computer in their pocket.

    As for the Americanization and whitewashing question. How is this even an issue? If Toho have said they’re happy (even prefer) that the remake be Americanized then people have no grounds to complain. Viewing the stories through different cultural lens can produce some interesting material. If it didn’t happen you wouldn’t see movies like Yojimbo-Fistful of Dollars, Seven Samurai – The Magnificent Seven and so on.

  • Worked for infernal affairs/the departed?

    Bad Robot definitely signed up for the big meteor. other than that they should just focus on good casting and script.

  • Can someone explain the big deal of America remaking asian movies as being bad? The asian markets; Hong kong/China, India, Japan etc. Remake American movies all the time and no one cares.

    • I think its the fanbase behind the media.

      When Asian markets remake Western movies. Its more for a quick buck in order to trick people. Like when you see those low budget movies with covers/ Storylines than blatantly copy big budget movies.

      Whereas anime have a huge fanbase behind them resulting in the reactions to westernized versions.

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