DreamWorks has acquired the rights to the Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell and plans to adapt it into a live-action 3-D action feature.

According to the Variety article announcing the acquisition, Universal and Sony were also bidding on the project, but Steven Spielberg took a personal interest and helped bring it to DreamWorks.

“Ghost in the Shell is one of my favorite stories,” Spielberg said. “It’s a genre that has arrived, and we enthusiastically welcome it to DreamWorks.”

Of course, Ghost in the Shell is already a movie. It was a 1995 anime adaptation in Japan and became one of the most beloved movies of the genre. It was popular enough to even spawn a sequel in 2004. The Wachowski brothers credited the series as being an inspiration for the “hooking into the virtual world” aspect of The Matrix (read: they ripped it off).

Producing are Avi Arad, Ari Arad, and Steven Paul. Jamie Moss (Street Kings) will write the script.

People have pointed out “But Avi Arad was responsible for the storm cloud fiasco in Fantastic Four 2!” And I say to that, “Well, he was responsible for the whole movie, so he already lost credibility. He backed Elektra didn’t he?” Arad is the head of Marvel Entertainment, the division of the comic book company that is focused on adapting every character into a full-length feature film. But apparently his producer role extends beyond just Marvel comics and now into manga.

But I guess Akira is already being made live-action, so why not Ghost in the Shell? I enjoyed both of those movies and wouldn’t mind seeing Hollywood take a crack at them. Spielberg being involved in some way is a little comforting. Moss writing it is not.

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