Now, if you were against the idea of a Western remake of Akira then I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you. From the sounds of things, you're going to have to put up with three live-action Akira movies instead of just one.
In a recent interview with ComingSoon.net, director explained the grand scale of Akira and his vision for bringing it to the big screen. Firstly, he described how he'd be trying to differentiate his version of Akira from both the manga and anime. He explained:
[Katsuhiro] Otomo adapted his own work from a manga into an anime and both things are completely different and genius. The only way to do a live version of Akira is to take the spirit and adapt it. It will be as different as the anime was from the manga.
The director, whose previous works includes Unknown, Orphan and House of Wax, then laid out the challenges with adapting such a multi-faceted movie. He stated:
I think you cannot make a movie about Akira and hope that everyone understands it. Like everything else, you have to make three or four movies in one where there’s the essence somewhere. If you’re a fan, you already know what it’s about and you’ll see it’s part of the same world, but trying to oversimplify it would be a mistake. I think if at some point a character tries to explain it to the audience at the end of the second act, that’s a problem. It’s more like an existential opera. It’s something that can only be explained in the manga, and even in the anime it’s hard to follow.
However, it seems any follow up movies might explore the world of Akira further, as opposed to continuing the same story. He continued:
So hopefully in my version that will be strong, and you’ll have a story that happens in that world that will show you a little bit of the mystery. Then, if you’re interested, they’ll make Akira 2 and 3 then you can get deeper into it. I love the world, a lot of people love that world, so why wouldn’t we indulge in it a little bit and see how it would be if it was real? Like you say I don’t have to explain everything, but wouldn’t you like to spend two-hours in a world of Akira and follow a character and be like, ‘that’s cool’? That’s all I want to offer, is two-hours in a world you can actually feel. We’re working on it.
The original 1988 anime has been primed for an Americanized reboot for quite some time. Since then we've seen little serious life from the project, although it always seems to reemerge every now and then - for example, we received some concept art earlier this week. himself also seems to have a turbulent relationship with the movie. He was originally attached to direct in 2012, but dropped out to pursue other films once it became clear Akira's producers couldn't deliver an agreeable budget. However, after finishing 's upcoming Taken-on-a-plane flick, Non-Stop, it seems he's been persuaded to return.
Collet-Serra is not the only name to be attached to Akira. It seems is still signed on to produce, while Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth) has penned the script - which apparently features the USA selling Manhattan off to Japan.
There is still no solid casting news but a whole host of stars have apparently been approached to play Tatsuo and/or Kaneda over the years, including Leonardo DiCaprio, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and . So, that's basically everyone in Hollywood, then?
What do you think? How do you feel about the anime classic being reimagined in America? Let us know below.