Ask a typical American about Japan, and the response will usually involve automobiles, sushi, and Godzilla--fairly trivial nuggets of information. But if one of those Americans asked happens to be under 25 years of age, he'll probably gush about Dragon Ball.
The wildly popular Dragon Ball franchise began as a Japanese manga in the mid-1980s in Japan, but has spread across the world and into other media such as video games, card games, and multiple animated television series. Soon, the franchise will topple one of the last forms of entertainment that has eluded it: a live-action film translation.
A Dragon Ball movie will be produced by 20th Century Fox and, if all goes according to plan, will hit theaters on August 18, 2008, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Justin Chatwin, who played Tom Cruise's son in War of the Worlds, will star as the popular main character Son Goku. Playing the film's villain will be James Marsters, best known as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. James Wong (Final Destination) will direct, and Stephen "Kung Fu Hustle" Chow will produce.
The story follows the superpowered alien Goku, who is sent to Earth as an infant to take the planet over. However, upon realizing his species' intent, Goku has a change of heart and opts to protect the planet from extraterrestrial attacks.
Chatwin's other roles include a pot-dealing gay teen on Weeds, a pot-growing hitchhiker on Lost, and SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2, which isn't tolerable even with insane amounts of pot. Marsters, whose hotness is apparent even without insane amounts of pot, was also featured on Buffy spin-off Angel, as well as Smallville.
The Dragonball franchise has produced several shows, including Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball GT, and the massively popular Dragon Ball Z.