From Asgard to Neo-Tokyo
Even to those who don’t care much for anime will have at least heard of Akira, while fans of the medium are unanimous in agreement that Katsuhiro Otome’s gritty, sci-fi flick is nothing short of an animated masterpiece.
So naturally, studios have been clawing at the chance to get it adapted into live-action. While a westernised version of Kaneda and Tetsuo’s conflict just sounds like it’s doomed to fail, there may be a glimmer of hope in the form of it’s possible new director.
The man behind Hunt for the Wilderpeople and the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok; Taika Waititi.
According to an article on Anime News Network –
Entertainment news website Deadline reported on Tuesday that Warner Brothers is negotiating with Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) to direct its live-action Akira film project.
Deadline describes the film’s story as taking place “in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.” Deadline also describes the project as spanning two films, with each film tackling three volumes Katsuhiro Otomo‘s original manga. Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar is producing the film alongside film Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson’s Appian Way Productions.
Jeff Sneider, editor-in-chief of The Tracking Board website, reported in March that Warner Brothers was in talks to purusue Jordan Peele (Get Out) as the film’s director. Sneider also reported that Warner Brothers had also met with Daniel Espinosa (Life) and David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) as possible directors.
In June 2016, Sneider reported that Warner Brothers was pursuing Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Star Trek Beyond), though he emphasized at the time that the news was not confirmed.
Mad Max film series director George Miller said in October 2015 that he had turned down an offer to work on the project.
In October 2011, Warner officially green-lit the film for director Jaume Collett-Serra (Unknown, Orphan, House of Wax). However, The Hollywood Reporter then posted that production had shut down in January 2012, before filming would have started. Warner had stalled the project to revise the script so it would be less costly. Collett-Serra said in February 2014 that he was still working on the project, but he then told the Collider website that there was no progress on the project as of March 2015.
As you can see, a lot of cinematic veterans have turned the project down. No surprise given it’s size and scope, not to mention the monumental weight of fan expectations. Akira has quite the legacy after all. Will Waititi be up for the challenge or will the whole thing implode like Tetsuo?