The first has Zac Efron being offered the lead in Warner Bros.’ long-gestating live-action take on Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga/anime “Akira”. Set in a futuristic Tokyo (or New York now, for the American version), the film involves psychic children, military armageddon, and my personal favorite, motorcycle gang warfare with guys in clown masks. Ah, the future, ain’t it cool?
The Hughes Brothers (“Book of Eli”) have been developing the film for the last year along with Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company. Previous rumors had Joseph Gordon Levitt attached in the lead, but that seems to have gone nowhere, it would appear.
Currently, “Akira” is being developed as a two-part PG-13 film. I know many will bridle at the rating, but I can see it sticking to a PG-13 tone. It is sci-fi, after all, and you can get away with a lot as long as you do it all under the title of “sci-fi”.
Meanwhile, over at alien fighting world, there is finally movement on Doug Liman’s adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s “All You Need is Kill”, which has the Powers That Be (also Warner Bros.) offering the lead role to Ryan Gosling.
Based on a breezy little sci-fi novel by Japanese writer Hiroshi Sakurazaka, “All You Need is Kill” is best described as “Groundhog Day” crossed with “Starship Troopers”, in that it involves a green soldier who finds himself stuck in a time loop while fighting alien bug-like invaders determined to wipe mankind off the planet. These are big suckers, too, so mankind has developed “mechas” to wear into combat. (I did mention that it’s a Japanese novel, right? They love their mechas over there, yes they do.)
Like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”, as the soldier “dies” and is “reborn” back on the same day, he begins to learn from his many deaths. But unlike Murray, who learns that the best way to make the woman he likes like him back is to just be a good human being, the hero in “All You Need is Kill” becomes a badass alien killing warrior. Hey, whatever works.
And yeah, I can see Gosling in the role, too.