Variety is reporting that Darren Aronofsky, the director of Pi and Requiem For A Dream, has been tapped to direct a live action version of the Lone Wolf & Cub series of graphic novels created by Kazuo Koike. According to Variety 'Koike's samurai tale is expected to be contemporized by Aronofsky and his partner Eric Watson, who will produce.' From this comment it appears that Aronofsky won't be making an Edo-period samurai version of the saga since that has already been done in Japan. Lone Wolf & Cub provided the source material for six 'Baby Cart' live action samurai epics, which were produced in Japan between 1972 and 1974. Two of these features, Sword of Vengeance and Baby Cart at the River Styx, which were directed by Kenji Misumi, are currently available on DVD from Animeigo (srp $26.95) and all the films in the series should be available on DVD by the end of 2004.
Lone Wolf and Cub has been a huge hit for Dark Horse Comics, which consistently led the Top 50 Graphic Novel charts measuring sales in the comic shop market with its 28-volume Lone Wolf & Cub series (see 'Lone Wolf & Cub #1 Tops 50,000'). Worldwide sales of Lone Wolf & Cub graphic novels have surpassed the 15 million mark, making this the most popular samurai series so far. Clearly this is a title that matters and so pop culture retailers can only hope that Aronofsky, whose track record in getting comic book movies made is poor -- he's been attached to Batman Year One and Ronin, neither of which has seen the screen -- can finally get a comic-based film made. Aronofsky has great taste in potential material and a style that would appear to work well the properties he has chosen, but lots of things happen in Hollywood's developmental hell that aren't the fault of the potential directors or screenwriters. Let's hope that for Aronofsky the third time he attempts to make a comic-based film will be the charm.