This is awful, awful news.
Who should play Spike Spiegel in the live action version?
First off, the character of Spike Spiegel is not in his late forties. He’s in his late twenties. Second, Spike is amoral on a good day, and on the edge of evil most of the time. You know who I think would be all right as Spike? (Not great, just all right…) Spike is also very, very funny. Not intentionally, of course. But this show was a very light-hearted romp through some very dark places, and dark mindsets.
And, frankly, why the hell is Spike casting as a white guy? Whatever happened to color-blind casting?
My ideal Spike Spiegel? Tony Leung Chiu Wai. He’s at least still in his thirties, capable of playing young. He does brooding anti-heroes really well. And, unlike Keanu Reeves, he can actually act.
The only director that I think has a chance of getting the energy and oddball, hipster pacing right is a Chungking Express-era Wong Kar Wai, or maybe Stephen Chow(?).
As for the writer, I think you need someone who can do madcap, anything-goes insanity extremely well, while balancing the very gritty, bleak edge of action and violence in the show. I would probably team up Noah Baumbach with Quentin Tarantino.
And, all that said, the movie would still suck. Cowboy Bebop is a series of very kinetic, in the moment, short stories. When you expand it to a movie length (as the original Anime Movie-ization of Cowboy Bebop would reveal to you) that magic, madcap energy dissipates into the very long story arcs.
To do this movie right, you’d need to do four half hour “episodes” – one featuring each main character – followed by something finalizing for Spike.
Imagine something like STRAY DOG STRUT (with Ed and Faye already present) followed by BALLAD OF FALLEN ANGELS followed by BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY followed by BOOGIE WOOGIE FENG SHUI followed by THE REAL FOLK BLUES.
Hollywood wouldn’t do it that way, now would they?
Anyway, all around, this is terribly bad news for Anime fandom. And, I hope the whole project gets ripped out of Keanu’s hands and given to folks who can do it right.