ICYMI: This Week in API Film News

Destin Daniel Cretton set to direct live-action ‘Naruto’ adaptation

Naruto” has found its director. 

On Feb. 23, Lionsgate announced its plans for a live-action “Naruto” adaptation with Destin Daniel Cretton, director of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” to write and direct the film. 

The story will be based on Masashi Kishimoto’s well-loved namesake manga, which follows boy ninja Naruto Uzumaki as he attempts to become his village’s leader. Published in 1997, the franchise has since been well-received in more than 60 countries and territories and has over 250 million copies in print, Variety reports. In 2002, Japan created the anime series, “Naruto,” which has 220 episodes and was followed by the sequel “Naruto: Shippuden,” which lasted from 2007 to 2017 with 21 seasons. 

Lionsgate has been toying with the idea of a “Naruto” live-action since 2015, with “The Greatest Showman” filmmaker Michael Gracey originally on to direct

Arad Productions is producing, alongside Cretton’s company, Hisako. Cretton is currently at work on the “Shang-Chi” sequel, and recently wrapped up as an executive producer for last year’s Disney+ series, “American Born Chinese.” 

So “Naruto” fans, fear not. The live-action is in good hands. 

Auli’i Cravalho Reprising her Role in ‘Moana 2’

Auli’i Cravalho is reuniting with Dwayne Johnson in “Moana 2.” 

Announced Feb. 27, the news comes after the surprise “Moana 2” reveal, which is set to premiere on Nov. 27. The film now sees Cravalho reprising her role as Moana and Johnson as the demigod Maui. 

Cravalho is the original voice of Moana in the 2016 film, “Moana.” The actress revealed her involvement in the sequel through an Instagram reel, in which she jumps for joy in front of Disney’s Burbank, CA animation studios with a caption that reads, “That feeling when you’re officially returning to Motunui.” 

Directed by Dave Derrick Jr. and featuring music by duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina, the story follows Moana as she embarks on a seafaring journey in the waters of Oceania, after being called to adventure by her ancestors. 

The upcoming sequel is separate from the previously announced live-action adaptation of “Moana,” which is still in the works, and features Johnson returning as Maui.

Ishana Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Watchers’ Releases Trailer

There’s no doubt that the name Shyamalan is synonymous with horror films.

Tuesday morning, Feb. 27, Warner Brothers released the first trailer for writer-director Ishana Night Shyamalan’s feature debut, “The Watchers.” Ishana Night Shymalan is the daughter of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan and has previously directed short films, music videos and television episodes. 

The story follows late-20s artist Mina, after she becomes stranded in the western Ireland wilderness. The shelter she finds reveals itself to be no better, however, as she ends up trapped alongside three others, prevented from leaving by unknown creatures that stalk the group as night falls. Based on the gothic horror novel, “The Watchers,” by A.M. Shine that was published in 2021, the plot pulls from ancient Irish folklore to create an intense narrative atmosphere. 

The film is backed by New Line and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, Ashwin Rajan and Nimitt Mankad. Dakota Fanning leads, with Georgina Campbell, Oliver Finnegan and Olwen Fouéré rounding out the main cast. 

Prepare for a summer horror with “The Watchers,” which premieres June 7.