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VIZ PRODUCTIONS DEVELOPING FEATURE FILM BASED ON AUTHOR SAYURI UEDA’S SHORT STORY THE STREET OF FRUITING BODIES
BATMAN Screenwriter Sam Hamm To Develop Script About An Infestation Of Deadly Hallucinogenic Spores
San Francisco, CA, Date February 12 2015 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced that its Los Angeles-based film development division, VIZ Productions, is developing the haunting short story, “The Street of Fruiting Bodies,” by famed Japanese author Sayuri Ueda into a feature film, and has retained Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm to write the adaptation.
“The Street of Fruiting Bodies” depicts the sudden spread of a mysterious and lethal species of hallucinogenic mushroom. The infestation is deadly, but it also offers visions of deceased loved ones to the infected, hinting at the reality of an afterlife, or at least a new kind of existence that is beyond human comprehension. Ueda’s story appeared in the anthology, PHANTASM JAPAN, which collects works by several bestselling authors from both the United States and Japan and was published in English in 2014 by VIZ Media’s Haikasoru literary imprint.
Jason Hoffs, Head of Production at VIZ Productions, says the story is well suited for feature film adaptation. “Sayuri Ueda turns the ‘killer virus’ concept on its head with an agent that strikes at our emotions rather than our bodies. We hope to marry the pace of a riveting popcorn movie with a compelling meditation on life-after-death, love and memory, and God.”
Screenwriter Sam Hamm is best known for his script for the 1989 Tim Burton film, Batman, and also adapted short fiction for Showtime’s Masters of Horror series. He says of the new project, “Ueda creates a world in which the most profound human emotions – love, grief, longing, and hope – can lead to one’s salvation or one’s undoing, and the true horror is that it may be impossible to tell the difference. ‘The Street of Fruiting Bodies’ is not only disturbing, it is moving.”
VIZ Productions coordinates the licensing of Japanese entertainment media (manga, books and film) to North American-based film studios. The company’s most recent project was 2014’s sci-fi action feature, Edge of Tomorrow, which was co-produced by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures and starred Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton. The film was based on the novel, ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and available in English from VIZ Media’s Haikasoru imprint. VIZ Productions is also currently developing a feature film adaptation of the hit manga property DEATH NOTE.