It seems the live-action Hollywood take on classic anime ‘Akira’ may finally be coming to life - and the studio reportedly have a director in mind for the job.
Journalist Jeff Snieder revealed in the latest Meet the Movie Press, “It seems that Warner Bros are courting Justin Lin of ‘Star Trek Beyond’ to direct ‘Akira.’”
Reportedly a script has been completed by Marco Ramirez (showrunner on Marvel’s TV series ‘Daredevil’), and Leonardo DiCaprio - once cited as a potential star - is on board as producer.
While Snieder says there is “no word on whether Justin Lin wants to do the movie,” it is noted that the director (also responsible for ‘Fast & Furious’ 3 to 6) is attached to another Warner Bros property, ‘Space Jam 2,’ so he’s clearly held in good stead at the studio.
The 1988 animated movie from director Katsuhiro Otomo (adapted from his own Manga series) has long been one of the most highly regarded and influential anime movies.
A highly visceral dystopian sci-fi, it centres on troubled teen biker Tetsuo, who develops intense psychic powers which rapidly grow beyond his control, forcing his best friend Kaneda to try to stop him.
Warner Bros have been trying to get a live action version off the ground for more than a decade. Initially there had been plans to set the US version in a futuristic New York, with DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Kaneda and Tetsuo.
More recently, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender and Kristen Stewart were linked to the film, with director Jaume Collet-Serra, but these plans also fell through.
At least part of why these proposed adaptations folded was fan protest over the casting; we can scarcely fail to note that none of the aforementioned actors are either Japanese or teenage. The upcoming live-action take on another acclaimed anime ‘Ghost in the Shell’ has attracted similar anger for the casting of Scarlett Johansson.
Snieder notes that coveting Asian-American director Lin might indicate Warner Bros are wising up to this, and may instead put together an Asian cast for ‘Akira.’
Still, Lin’s attachment is by no means confirmed, so we wait to see if ‘Akira’ can finally come to life this time - but with ‘Ghost in the Shell’ on the way, plus James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez’s take on ‘Battle Angel Alita’ to follow, it certainly looks like live-action anime adaptations could be a new Hollywood trend.
Picture Credit: Toho, WENN