While the world awaits for Thor: Ragnarok with anticipation, the third installment of the Marvel's Thor franchise which is due out on November 3, its director Taika Waititi may soon be attached to yet another high-octane Hollywood project - the live-action adaptation of Akira.
Warner Bros. is currently in talks with the New Zealand-born Waititi to helm the live-action version of Akira. While the setting will be moved from a dystopian neo-Tokyo to a rebuilt New Manhattan, the main storyline will still be about the leader of a biker gang who saves his childhood friend from a medical experiment.
To be made by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, #Akira is based on Japanese #manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s 6-volume graphic novel of the same name. Otomo also directed and co-wrote the 1988 #animated cyberpunk film adaptation that would go on to become a cult classic and regarded by many as one of the best animation and science fiction films of all-time.
According to Deadline, the live-action adaptation has been a big priority for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures ever since they acquired the rights for a 7-figure amount from manga publisher Kodansha in 2002.
The studios are said to be keen to make two Akira films, each covering three volumes of the book series. Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar is producing with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson. However, the road to production has been a rocky one so far – and getting #TaikaWaititi to join the project might be exactly what this movie needed.
Akira: Arising From Development Hell
Akira's road to Hollywood hasn't been easy, to say the least, having been in 'development hell' for almost two decades. At one point, Oscar-nominated screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men), along with Gary Whitta (Book of Eli), wrote a script that Ruairi Robinson (The Leviathan) was set to direct. However, that didn't come to pass.
In 2012, the film came closer to being made. Spanish director Jaumet Collet-Serra (House Of Wax, Orphan) actually started casting the film, with Dane DeHann and Michael Pitt vying for the lead role of Tetsuo. He even began negotiations with the likes of Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter to fill other roles as well. Unfortunately, this project collapsed as well.
Then, two years ago, the Hollywood Reporter announced that Warner Bros. had brought in Marco J. Ramirez (Sons of Anarchy, Daredevil) to develop a script. The film adaptation was seen to be a sure thing at this point, although whether Ramirez's script will eventually be used for Waititi's film remains to be seen.
In the meantime, whether the Thor: Ragnarok director will sign on for the live-action Akira or not, he's already on schedule to direct Jojo Rabbit, a WWII dramedy for which he also wrote the script.
Check out this clip for a glimpse of the 1988 anime classic, Akira:
Are you excited for a live-action version of Akira?