Legend of Zelda Movie Will Not Be Like ‘Lord of the Rings,’ Says Director Wes Ball: ‘I Would Love to See a Live-Action Miyazaki’

As soon as news hit in November that Nintendo and Sony Pictures were joining forces for a live-action movie based on the The Legend of Zelda video games, many fans started to predict the the studios had the next “Lord of the Rings” on their hands. Not so fast. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the film’s director Wes Ball said he’s long envisioned a Zelda movie not as a “Rings”-like epic but as a live-action Hayao Miyazaki movie.

Ball said his vision for the live-action Zelda movie is “this awesome fantasy-adventure movie that isn’t like ‘Lord of the Rings,’ it’s its own thing. I’ve always said, I would love to see a live-action Miyazaki. That wonder and whimsy that he brings to things, I would love to see something like that.”

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“It’s going to be awesome,” Ball continued. “My whole life has led up to this moment. I grew up on Zelda and it is the most important property, I think, that’s untapped IP, if you will. So we very much are working hard to do something. We’re not just trying to do it because we can. We want to make something really special.”

Ball, best known in Hollywood for directing the three “Maze Runner” movies, spoke to Entertainment Weekly while in post-production on “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” which opens in theaters over Memorial Day weekend next year.

“We’re working on the script, and whether it’s the next one or not, it’s hard to say exactly,” he said of the Zelda movie. “But certainly the plan is, after ‘Apes’ is done, to have a little bit of a rest for a moment, and then dive into [Zelda] and hopefully give fans what they’re hoping for, and also invite new people in. I think Nintendo’s desire is to introduce people to this world that’s been around for 40 years now.”

Zelda creator and game developer Shigeru Miyamoto first announced the live-action movie on Nintendo’s social media channels.

“This is Miyamoto. I have been working on the live-action film of The Legend of Zelda for many years now with Avi Arad-san, who has produced many mega hit films,” he wrote. “I have asked Avi-san to produce this film with me, and we have now officially started the development of the film with Nintendo itself heavily involved in the production. It will take time until its completion, but I hope you look forward to seeing it.”

Arad’s credits include every live-action “Spider-Man” movie and the “Spider-Verse” animated films. The Zelda film will be co-financed by Nintendo and Sony Pictures Entertainment, with more than 50% financed by Nintendo. Sony will handle the theatrical distribution. “Jurassic World” screenwriter Derek Connolly is penning the film. Ball is also producing with Joe Hartwick Jr. under their Oddball Entertainment banner.

Plot and casting details for the movie are still under wraps, although fans have been taking to social to share their dream picks. One name that keeps popping up to play the title character is “Euphoria” and “Hunger Games” prequel star Hunter Schafer.

“That would be so cool,” Schafer told Variety about playing Zelda in the live-action film. “I love the game, personally. I played it as a kid and I still play it now. Who knows! That would be pretty cool.”

Ball’s “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” opens in theaters May 24.

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