(main body written June 9,2015)(Rumors Sept. 15, 2015)
Warner Bros. are re-attempting to create a live action picture based on the popular 80’s manga Akira. Warner has been trying to create a live action picture since acquiring the rights in 2008, and have had Andrew Lazar, who produced American Sniper and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, lined up to produce. Warner’s previous attempt at making a live action Akira failed in 2012 despite already having Jaume Collet-Serra signed to direct. The failed project had been in negotiations with Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter. Along with those names, there were also rumors floating around that Michael Pitt and Toby Kebbell were in consideration for the role of Tetsuo. But unfortunately production on the film was stopped due to multiple problems – problems that more than likely stemmed from budget issues that were created when it was slashed in half to around $60 million dollars. This halving of the budget would cause troubles in casting and in the script as production was forced to look for less expensive options to help reach the new budgetary restrictions. Part of these changes included the relocation of the movie setting from Neo-Tokyo to Neo-Manhattan.
Warner’s new attempt at bringing Katsuhiro Otomo‘s post-apocalyptic manga masterpiece to life is starting with a bang as they have already signed up Marco Ramirez to write the script based on the manga. Ramirez’s writing chops consist of many of what are considered the best episodes in the first season of Netflix’s hit series, Daredevil. Ramirez’s previous work experience on Sons of Anarchy may also help him pen a script based on a story that involves two brothers that must battle each other as they belong to two rival motorcycle gangs.
While it will definitely be a difficult task for the new film to top the 1988 animated film version, Ramirez does appear to be the person that could give the new film the best chance to compete with the animated feature. It still is not known if Collet-Serra, who was growing weary of the previous project when it was shut down, will still direct. But if they elect not to bring him back hopefully they bring someone in that has at least an appreciation, if not a passion for, the original manga. And hopefully now Warner Bros. can approach this attempt with a more focused purpose and a realistic sense of budget that they will stick to, allowing whatever Ramirez can come up with the best chance of success possible. And hopefully they drop the idea of moving the setting to Neo-Manhattan and leave it in the post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo, where it belongs.
New Rumors Surface About Warner Bros. Live Action Akira
Rumors appear to be floating around the web about the possibility of Christopher Nolan joining in on the Warner Bros., live-action Akira project. Although many thought that Nolan was being brought in to direct, the new consensus is that he will not direct despite Warner announcing an unnamed Nolan project for July 2017. This, many believe, will not be Akira, and that more than likely if Nolan has anything to do with the film, it will most likely be in a producer position. This belief is enhanced by word that Nolan had met with a filmmaker that had been previously added to the project. The name of this filmmaker has yet to be released, but it appears that it is not Jaume Collet-Serra, who was previously named to direct the previous live-action film. If it is true that Collet-Serra is no longer attached to direct, then this is actually fantastic news. I say this because he appeared to never actually have any respect for the Japanese anime or manga culture. He has been said to have said that neither medium have produced “strong characters.”
The other rumor that came out that appears to be creditable, is that instead of trying to cram the massive Akira manga into one film, Warner Bros. seem to be taking an approach in which they make it a trilogy. This is a smart move on their part as it will allow them to tell a more cohesive story without having to edit out a good deal of narrative and keeping it as close to the original story as possible. With all the mistakes that Warner has made with their previous attempts at making a live action Akira, this decision appears to be a step in right direction and t maybe this time the film will actually make it to theaters.