A 3D live-action remake of anime movie classic Ghost in the Shell is being planned by Dreamworks Pictures, it has emerged.

First published as a manga comic in 1989, Masumune Shirow's creation tells a dystopian tale of a covert ops team working for the Japanese National Public Safety Commission and tasked with fighting technological crime.

Having spawned two further manga editions, three anime films, an anime TV series and three videogames, the manga could be seen as the start of a lucrative franchise for DreamWorks, who have acquired the rights to the property, according to Variety.

DreamWorks was the favourite to land the deal, having distributed the second anime film, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence in the US in 2004.

While Universal and Sony are also thought to have been chasing Ghost in the Shell, the help of Steven Spielberg has seen the project snapped up by his studio.

"Ghost in the Shell is one of my favourite stories," the Indiana Jones director explained.

"It's a genre that has arrived, and we enthusiastically welcome it to DreamWorks."

Former Marvel Studios head Avi Arad - who has produced all three Spider-Man and X-Men films, as well as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and both Fantastic Four movies - will produce the adaptation alongside Steven Paul of Seaside Entertainment.

Jamie Moss, screenwriter for the upcoming James Ellroy adaptation Street Kings, is to write the screenplay.

15/04/2008 12:10:09