It’s been a wild ride for Warner Bros. Pictures’ adaptation of Akira, which has had more than a handful of directors and actors attached over the years. Thankfully, it may all be worth the wait.
One of the most exciting trailers I’ve seen this year is for Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi. The footage is utterly stunning, promising that Waititi has brought the ever-so-dull Thor franchise to life. Now, he may do the same for Akira.
Warner Bros. is negotiating with Waititi, says Deadline, the New Zealand-born director who also is behind one of the funniest horror films in the past decade, What We Do in the Shadows.
Akira is a live-action version of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s 6-volume graphic novel. The story takes place in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.
Mad Chance’s Lazar is producing with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson. The picture has been a big priority since Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures acquired it for 7-figures from manga publisher Kodansha. The intention has always been to make 2 films, each covering 3 books in the series. Akira was first adapted for the screen in 1988.
The picture got close several times. Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Book of Eli scribe Gary Whitta wrote a script which originally had Ruairi Robinson aboard to direct. The Hughes Brothers and Jaume Collet-Serra were among the filmmakers who sparked to it. It got closest to a start date several years ago, until it closed the Vancouver production office, the studio let lapse test options deals it had with Dane DeHaan and Michael Pitt,. who had been competing for the lead role of Tetsuo, and were going to star alongside Garrett Hedlund, Kristin Stewart, and potentially Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter.
It all just makes you want to scream.