You only have to read the bold sentences. That is all that is essential in the thread. The rest is just my opinion on the matter.
Now, imagine for the sake of this thread that One Piece could be made into a live action film, or in my perfect world a series of about ten movies, that are actually good. I know the knee jerk reaction of most anime/manga fans is that Hollywood is going to squat over their beloved childhood heroes and favorite stories and dump a steaming pile of Dragonball Evolution on their faces. But again for the sake of this thread, imagine that was not the case. I used to think a live action One Piece film was impossible, I suppose to an extent I still do but It doesn't mean that I don't think the idea has potential - especially if the right people were behind it. And that is the point of this thread
If a One Piece live action film were to be being made who would you want to direct it?
For my post I will comment on some directors who I would be happy at to be at the helm. You can comment on my choices or you can recommend your own. Just have fun with it.
Before I get to that I would like to say that I feel that a One Piece movie that is completely live action could never really give off the proper energy and atmosphere that is One Piece. For a One Piece live action to work at all it would have to be a high quality seamless hybrid like Avatar. For this to work, again in my perfect world, the real life actors would have to be molded into something between a real life humans and a cartoon with crazy physical dimensions. For the sake of the director below, just image that they have all taken that approach.
~James Cameron~ Avatar was the inspiration for this thread so he lands on the list by default. Weather you think that this film was the second coming or a steaming pile doesn't really matter, objectively, the film a visual marvel and landmark. If the same level of passion and care (and money) was taken into creating the One Piece world in a semi-live action setting I would be a very happy panda. Cameron in not a stranger to manga, in fact for years now he has expressed interest making a live action Battle Angel Alita. The problem with Cameron is that I just don't think that One Piece suites him (not in the way Alita does), if this were to ever happen and he sounded very enthused by it and he made it sound like a passion project than I might not have the mixed feelings I am having as I write this. Cameron is a legit top director with great credentials and while I would never call him a personal favorite he is without a doubt a man with a lot of power and pull in Hollywood.
~Mathew Vaughn~ My personal favorite option on my list. His list of films is short but the quality is undeniable. He made his director debut with the Guy Richie-esque mob flick starring Daniel Craig - Layer Cake. A film I have always felt was a little overlooked. His sophomore effort was the fantastical epic Stardust which, like its predecessor, was sorely overlooked. It had Robert de Niro as a gay pirate, how could that not be a great movie? His last film, Kick-Ass, finally got him a little recognition. With this movie he proved that the tattered remains known as Nickolas Cage could still turn in a great performance if the material and directing was right (a fact many, including myself, doubted very much.) At the moment I feel Vaughn is batting a thousand and that I have no real reason to doubt his ability. We will see if he can continue this stretch of success with his upcoming X Men prequel and sequel to Kick Ass. He has shown more than anyone that he can create the kind of fun and over the top excitement that a director would need to create the One Piece atmosphere. For whatever reason, there is no one I have more confidence in than him.
~Zack Snyder~ Jesus, has this guy just exploded over the last few years or what? Since 300 I just feel like he has been everywhere. Look, I enjoyed 300 for what it is and I think Watchmen was as good a live action adaptation as anyone can hope for from such demanding material. He has proven that he is very true to source material, which is very important to him making their list. Visually I think he can pull it off as he is getting more and more 'out there' as evidence by the very cool Sucker Punch trailers and TV spots I am seeing all over the place. I know he could handle the action but I don't know how much faith I have in him as a storyteller just yet and his comedic ability has been virtually non-existent. One Piece is a hurricane of emotions and exaggerations but the comedy is always pretty prominent and I am afraid Zack would pull an M Night and serious up material that gets a lot of its energy from being fun (I have similar worries for Cameron). We will see how Sucker Punch turns out along with his gritty Superman reboot and I will know if I think he deserves to be mentioned on this list.
~Stephen Chow~ I can’t say I have that much experience with his films and a lot of the reason I am reluctant to put him on my list is because I remember reading back when Dragonball Evolution was still on the drawing boards that he was offered the director's chair and he said that he would never want to direct material that wasn’t his own and that he is not one for sticking to source material. Still all the glory that is Kung Fu Hustle is all that I really need to add him to the list. He has a great ability to mesh action and cartoony stylish slapstick. I think with the proper budget and passion that there might be no better fit to make a One Piece film. Being as I have only seen two of his films (the aforementioned Kung Fu Hustle and the also very popular and fun Shaolin Soccer.) I can’t speak of his consistency and that is another legitimate worry.
~Robert Rodriguez~ Speaking of worries of consistency we have Robert Rodriguez. When this guy is on and having fun and firing on all cylinders he can make some of the coolest movies I have ever seen - when he is catering to much to a kiddy demographic the lines of enjoyment and disgust blur. Still, his talent us undeniable and yes, a lot of the reason he made the list is Sin City. He has proven that he will stick very vehemently to a source material. He has the talent, style and ability. Still I would be really worried on how he would approach One Piece’s style. The first thing most people think of when they see the art style is that it is childish and goofy and, as mentioned, Robert likes making kiddy movies. I would hate to see Robert get to hung up on the idea that One Piece is a series about ‘pirates’ like 4kids did or, to a lesser extent, as Viz did - as evidence by their somewhat over the top usage of silly pirate phrases in the early volumes of One Piece.
~Edgar Wright~ Mr. Wright is probably my favorite choice on my list right there with Mr. Vaughn. He gained fame for his cult hit television series Spaced and went on to work with Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, two inspired and deeply enjoyable comedies. Still, it is his most recent film that lands him solidly and favorably on this list. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is probably the best and closest thing to a live action manga adaptation we have seen to date. The Scott Pilgrim series is well known for its manga influences (the creator mentioned One Piece as one of his inspirations) and Edgar Wright did a wonderful job of bringing it to live action (critically it was well received - unfortunately it was a box office bust). The way he handled the comedy, pace and unique humor of the Scott Pilgrim franchise really impressed me and he, along with Mr. Vaughn, has earned my utmost respect and confidence and I would be very happy to hear of him being involved in such a fantasy project. Much like Mr. Vaughn, also, he has yet to make a bad film and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
~Honorable mentions~ I think Gore Verbinski deserves a mention. His story telling leaves much to be desired but the way he handled the cursed pirates on the Davy Jones ship in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean film feels very akin to how I would want someone to tackle Fishmen and Merfolk (except probably less realistic and more colorful.) Just for pure talent and style I wouldn't mind seeing a guy like Tarantino or Nolan take on such a project. For world building, character styles and atmosphere I think the likes of Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro both deserve a mention. And because he is extremely underrated I believe Alfonso Cuaron name should be brought up. Also, two film makers that are only one film into their (directing) careers - I think Shane Black and Marc Webb show a ton of promise and apparently Hollywood agrees. I am not too sure where my confidence in them comes from - let's just wait and see how Iron Man 3 (Black) and the Spider Man reboot (Webb) turn out. If Joss Whedon pulls off the epic Avenger's film like I know everyone is hoping he will he would certainly be in the running as well (I say this as a long time moderate fan of Angel and Buffy.)
! I have always thought this spread from Oda was Tarantino-esque.
Also I would like to add that this really is all in good fun. I am not holding my breath for a live action One Piece film, let alone a series of them and if it did happen it probably would be some kind of DB Evolution low budget garbage. We would probably be lucky if a hack like Paul WS Anderson got to direct it. It would end up being more Eragon, GI Joe and The Last Airbender as oppose to Return of the King - I know. Regardless, it is interesting to speculate otherwise.