The Weekly Geek: “Mai, The Psychic Girl” to hit the Silver Screen

It seems that geek-friendly director Tim Burton has his hands full with cool, girl-powered projects these days. Coming right off of the successful, psychedelic Alice in Wonderland, and not long after learning of his intentions to direct Maleficent (about the eponymous misunderstood MILF from Sleeping Beauty), it now appears that Burton is looking to direct an adaptation of Mai, The Psychic Girl.

Both Geek Tyrant and Io9 (with a tip of the hat to Latino Review) have reported on the project, which will be based on the wildly successful Mai Manga, the first Japanese graphic novel to enjoy a wide release in English. It features a young psychic woman on the run from a creepy corporation who want to use her powers for their own gain.

Io9 writer Charlie Jane Anders weighed in on the news in typically vibrant fashion:

Along with Crying Freeman, it was the first manga series that really sucked me in and made me run through the floppies like popcorn. I think it was the wistful art style, combined with the strong focus on the characters, and the constant worry that Mai would go off the rails and start abusing her powers.

Can Burton do this series justice? If he has respect for the material and doesn’t try to impose his own campy sensibility on it too much, then sure — but here’s hoping he doesn’t try and shoehorn Helena Bonham Carter or human-puppet goth costumes and makeup into the project. Fingers crossed!

I have to say, I’m a big fan of the Burton/Bonham Carter collaborations. That may or may not have something to do with the fact that I love the creepy-hot-oddly sexy vibe she exudes in just about all of Burton’s films of the last decade (minus perhaps Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Planet of the Apes). I know I’m not alone in that.

But certainly, Mai would benefit from having a different protagonist from the Burton norm — preferably, in this case, a young Asian woman. We absolutely need more women of color in genre/action films, and staying true to Mai‘s original vision would be a fantastic way to accomplish that.

So geeks, what do you think? Are any Mai fans happy that Mr. Nightmare Before Christmas has won his long battle with Sony (who owned the rights to the property for years — it’s a long story), or would you rather see someone else take the reins?