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Warner Bros. prepping film adaptation of 'Bleach' manga

Warner Bros., already developing an adaptation of the manga "Akira," is in the process of securing the movie rights to "Bleach."

Peter Segal is in negotiations to produce, though not direct, the adaptation with Viz Media, the anime publishing house that releases the books in English in the U.S. Michael Ewing, Segal's partner at Callahan Filmworks, will also produce.

The story centers on a 15-year-old boy who has the ability to see ghosts and meets a female Soul Reaper, a member of an order that escorts the souls of the dead. A fight with an evil spirit causes the Reaper to transfer all her power to the boy, leaving her stranded in the human world and the boy taking over her job as a fighter of evil.

The manga, written and drawn by Tite Kubo, has been published in weekly installments in Japan since 2001. Viz has collected the stories in graphic novel format, so far releasing 29 volumes.

"Bleach" has been adapted into an anime TV series that airs in Japan. An English version airs on Cartoon Network and Canada's YTV. In Japan, the title has spawned features and a musical.

As the director of such comedies as "Get Smart" and "50 First Dates," Segal might seem an odd choice to shepherd the "Bleach" adaptation, but he's been seeking to expand his portfolio by taking on darker, more action-oriented material.

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