‘If This Was A Live-Action Movie, It Would Cost More Than ‘Avatar’’: 'Scott Pilgrim’ Anime Co-Writer Promises Even More Spectacle

The 'Scott Pilgrim’ animated adaptation doesn’t need to worry about busting its budget like the live-action one
‘If This Was A Live-Action Movie, It Would Cost More Than ‘Avatar’’: 'Scott Pilgrim’ Anime Co-Writer Promises Even More Spectacle

The Scott Pilgrim anime adaptation Scott Pilgrim Takes Off doesn’t premiere until November 17th, but I’m already in lesbians with it.

In 2010, star action-comedy director Edgar Wright released the first screen adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s popular (and barely finished) graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim to critical acclaim and commercial catastrophe. With a whopping $85 million budget that covered a star-studded cast and spectacular visual effects that were dripping with effort, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World grossed less than $50 million at the box office, making it the biggest bomb in Wright’s illustrious filmography.

Despite its financial struggles, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was an immediate cult classic to hordes of comic-book-and-music-loving millennials who have spent the last thirteen years singing its praises to anyone who would listen, which, thankfully, includes Netflix, who ordered an animated series adaptation written and developed by O’Malley and BenDavid Grabinski with the entire original cast returning to reprise their live-action roles.

Speaking with EmpireGrabinksi said of the series, “If you made a live-action movie of the show that we did, I think it would be the most expensive movie ever, and you’d be shooting for ten years,” adding, “It would be a total Hearts Of Darkness situation.”

“There’s an extended fight sequence in Episodes 2 and 3 that, if this was a live-action movie, would cost more than Avatar,” Grabinski explained of the animated project’s scope. “It would be so unbelievably big. And you don’t have to think that way. You’re not limited.” Grabinski further detailed how the animation medium complements the source material’s maximalist approach to action sequences in a way that won’t traumatize the accounting division of Universal Pictures.

Grabinksi says that the lack of restraints has allowed him and O’Malley to lean further into the absurdity of the Scott Pilgrim world, saying of the writing process, “Sometimes you’d just be like, ‘Wait, we live in a world that has vegan powers and people bursting into song. Why are we doing this fucking normal plot-point here?’ There’s just so many opportunities for your imagination to run wild.”

Nevertheless, neither Grabinksi nor O’Malley see Scott Pilgrim Takes Off as the project to supplant existing adaptations, whether it’s Wright’s movie or the arcade game released shortly after the film — says Grabinksi,  “In the same way that Edgar was so respectful of the books, I want these all to be in conversation with each other.” 

“You can watch the movie and then go read the books, you can read the books and watch the movie, you can watch our show, then play the game, then read the books, then watch the movie. The order doesn’t really matter — they all kind of feed off each other,” Grabinski explained. 

And, ideally, Grabinksi’s adaptation will also feed the bank accounts of everyone involved this time around. Not everyone can share a mattress with Wallace.

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