Original ‘Cowboy Bebop’ director expresses disapproval of Netflix adaptation, Hollywood producers

Original ‘Cowboy Bebop’ director expresses disapproval of Netflix adaptation, Hollywood producers
via Netflix

"It was clearly not 'Cowboy Bebop' and I realized at that point that if I wasn’t involved, it would not be 'Cowboy Bebop'"

January 30, 2023
Shinichirō Watanabe, director of the hit 1998 anime “Cowboy Bebop,” lambasted Netflix’s live-action remake — and Hollywood in general — in a new interview.
The team behind the original anime reportedly had little involvement in the adaptation, which was canceled after just one season.
Speaking to Forbes, Watanabe said he was provided an early sample of the adaptation by Netflix but deeply disapproved, calling it “very tough for me to continue.”

For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and check. It started with a scene in a casino, which made it very tough for me to continue. I stopped there and so only saw that opening scene. It was clearly not “Cowboy Bebop” and I realized at that point that if I wasn’t involved, it would not be “Cowboy Bebop.” I felt that maybe I should have done this. Although the value of the original anime is somehow far higher now.

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Watanabe also expressed particular frustration with Hollywood producers, specifically pointing to his experience directing a short film for the 2003 anthology film “The Animatrix.”
Produced by Lana and Lilly Wachowski — collectively known as the Wachowskis — and set in the universe of their 1999 hit film “The Matrix,” Watanabe was responsible for directing “Kid’s Story,” one of nine short films featured in the anthology.

Back on The Animatrix, I first got to work with people in Hollywood. Working with those kinds of people is always difficult. This is because at the beginning they promised me that I could do whatever I want, but that’s just lip service.

The director pointed to one producer on the project who allegedly refused to present his work to the Wachowskis unless convinced otherwise.

Actually, I had a big altercation with a Hollywood producer on The Animatrix. He would always come with these stupid requests, just so he could identify his own contribution. As the requests were stupid and made no sense, I rejected all of them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t win in this situation, so I had to concede on some of these things. I learned from this bitter experience though. For subsequent projects, I became smarter at handling people who wanted to interfere.

Watanabe, a noted anime auteur, also directed 2004’s “Samurai Champloo.” He last served as the creative director for 2021’s “Blade Runner: Black Lotus,” produced for Adult Swim and Crunchyroll.
      Chandler Treon

      Chandler Treon is an Austin-based Copyeditor for NextShark




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