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Columbia to remake ‘Big Man Japan’

Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi to pen script for Neal Moritz's banner

Columbia Pictures and Original Film are teaming to produce an English-language remake of helmer Hitoshi Matsumoto’s “Big Man Japan,” a monster movie based on the Japanese comic.

Columbia has optioned remake and sequel rights to the 2007 pic and tapped Original’s Neal H. Moritz (“The Green Hornet”) to develop and produce the as-yet-untitled comedy. Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (“Clash of the Titans”) will pen the script. Helmer and cast have yet to be announced.

Set in a world where giant monsters wreak havoc, Big Man Japan protects the citizenry as the head of the Department of Monster Prevention. He uses electricity in order to grow so he can fight off the most menacing of monsters. The problem is that he’s not very good at his job and often causes as much damage as he prevents, causing the public to mock him.

Matsumoto’s agency Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. and subsid Yoshimoto Creative Agency sold the non-Japanese language rights.

Toby Jaffe will oversee development for Original.

Matsumoto made his directorial debut with “Big Man Japan,” which earned a solid $15 million when it opened in Japan in 2007. It screened in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and other fests around the world, as well as in 26 U.S. cities in a limited release in 2008-2009 by Magnet Releasing.

Matsumoto, who has been a major talent on Japanese TV for two decades as part of the comic duo Downtown, starred in the original as the title character.

Matsumoto has since made the 2009 comic fantasy “Symbol” and the 2011 samurai comedy “Scabbard Samurai,” which will open in Japan on Saturday and gets its international preem at the Locarno Festival in Switzerland in August.

“With an ordinary remake, you just turn over everything to someone else and do nothing yourself, but this time I’ll take part in the remake in some form or other,” Matsumoto said.

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