News: Battle Royale comes to the small screen?

Battle Royale

In the wake of the success of the Hunger Games book and move franchises – and the continued cult popularity of the awesomely gory Japanese flick Battle Royale – the LA Times reported Thursday that a Battle Royale TV series is in the works with the CW. In fact, the network that brought you the Gossip Girl is currently developing two dystopic teen survival shows, and true to fashion there’s talk that they will pit the two shows against each other to see which one survives. (The second show, The Selection, is based on the novels by Kiera Cass.)

 

From Steven Zeitchik at the LA Times:

“In the last few weeks, the CW has had talks with the project’s Hollywood representatives about the possibility of turning the property into an English-language show, said a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak about it publicly. The talks were preliminary, but if a deal could be reached, the network would acquire rights to Koushun Takami’s underlying novel, then unpack and expand on it for an hourlong dramatic series.”

“Asked about the CW talks, Joyce Jun, a Hollywood attorney representing U.S. rights to the title, would say only that “there is no deal in place.” A CW spokesman confirmed only there had been some discussion but declined to comment further.”

In the original movie, which only became available on DVD in the US this past March, a group of  junior high students are chosen to engage in an annual battle to the death on a remote island. The battle has been devised as a means to discourage civil disobedience, in reaction to a student protest many years ealier. Each student is fitted with an explosive collar and given basic supplies and one weapon – which could be anything from a machete to a coat hanger. In the end only one student can remain standing.

An English remake of Battle Royale has been in the works for quite some time but could never quite get off the ground, despite the fact that it’s backed by the same folks that brought us The Ring, The Grudge, and other Japan-to-US adaptations.

If a deal can be reached then the CW would still need to acquire rights to Koushun Takami’s original novel (of the same name) which is possibly what’s kept the movie remake stalled for so long. The very nature of the story would present uncharted territory for a TV show, given the level of teen violence and the fact that it would involve gradually killing off the entire cast one-by-one.

I have been a big fan of Battle Royale ever since I saw the original movie ten years ago on bootleg VHS. While I’d really like to see a new film on the big screen rather than a watered down TV show (on a network best known for mind-rotting teen dramas), it’s one movie I think is ripe for a remake – so I hope something happens with this project.  Scroll down for a clip and stills:

Battle Royale

Battle Royale

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About Dave_P

Dave_P studied fine arts and film history and is a graphic and web designer, and a diehard movie fan. David has been involved with a variety film festivals including the Cinephile Film Festival, the PRIDE Film festival, and the Manhattan Short Film festival, and is currently the director of the Dark Carnival Film Fest in Bloomington, Indiana. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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