Mackenyu, Madison Iseman, Sean Bean, Famke Janssen to Star in Live-Action ‘Knights of the Zodiac’ Adaptation (Exclusive)

The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter

Pacific Rim: Uprising actor Mackenyu and Madison Iseman are leading the cast of Knights of the Zodiac, a live-action adaptation of the 1980s manga and anime series titled Saint Seiya being made by Toei Animation and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.

Sean Bean , Famke Janssen , Nick Stahl, Diego Tinoco and Mark Dacascos are also in the firmament of the fantasy that’s coming off of wrapping production.

Tomasz Baginski, the Polish animator and special effects wiz who has worked on The Witcher , is directing the movie that Toei is producing.

The manga and anime, created by Masami Kurumada and first introduced in 1986, told of warriors known as The Saints who gather their powers from the constellations. They are gathered to defend the reincarnated goddess Athena from other gods who intend to take over the Earth.

In what is labeled an origin story, Mackenyu is starring as Seiya, a street orphan and the title hero of the franchise. When a mystical energy known as Cosmo awakens in him, Seiya embarks on a journey to conquer the ancient Greek armor of Pegasus and choose his side in a preternatural battle for the fate of Sienna (Iseman), a young girl who struggles to control her godly powers.

Bean plays a mentor named Alman Kiddo, a man who recruits Seiya into the Knights order, which he founded when he discovered the reincarnated goddess. Tinoco has the juicy part of Nero/Phoenix, hired to kill the vulnerable goddess.

The project had been in development for years and suffered several production delays before finally shooting this year. Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken ( 10 Cloverfield Lane ) wrote the most recent drafts.

The movie boasts the fighting prowess of veteran stuntman and martial arts choreographer Andy Cheng, who was the fight coordinator of Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Cheng acted as stunt coordinator and fight coordinator for the production, which filmed in Hungary and Croatia.

Toei, which was behind the anime that ran from 1986 to 1989, will distribute in Japan, with SPWA handling the rest of the world, excluding China and the Middle East.

Mackenyu, the son of international martial arts actor Sonny Chiba who has made a slew of films popular manga adaptations in Japan, is repped by Buchwald and Asian Cinema Entertainment.

Iseman, repped by Paradigm, Zero Gravity and Morris Yorn, appeared in the recent Jumanji movies and is one of the stars of the I Know What You Did Last Summer TV series.

Bean, who is best known for his work for the opening chapters of The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones franchises, most recently starred in TNT’s Snowpiercer series. He repped by ICM and Independent Talent Group.

Janssen, known for her work in the X-Men and Taken franchises, recently appeared in the Freddie Highmore crime mini-series The Vault . She is repped by APA, The Artists Partnership and LINK Entertainment.

Stahl, repped by LINK Entertainment and Fuller Law, is coming off a stint on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead while Tinoco — repped by Paradigm, Impact Artists Group and Jackoway Austen — appeared in Netflix’s popular series, On My Block .

Dacascos is known for his action roles and appeared in John Wick: Parebellum and recurred in TV’s Hawaii Five-O . He is repped by MPG TALENT, Global Artists and Goodman Genow.

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