The Live-Action Akira is Apparently Still Alive (…For Some Reason)

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Jaume Collet-Serra on the set of Unknown (2011) Movie Image

“Unknown” director Jaume Collet-Serra was the last man attached to direct Warner Bros.’ live-action version of the popular Japanese manga/anime “Akira”, before he bailed for greener pastures. Now it looks like he’s back, and the adaptation is back on, and could potentially start production as early as 2014. Of course, we’ve all heard this before…

Akira (1988) Movie PosterLong accused of white-washing the original source material (while, inexplicably, still using the character’s original Japanese names for some unfathomable reason), “Akira” has gone through plenty of directors in its time, with every “hot” actor rumored for one role or another. The film never really got off the ground, even though millions were spent on concept artwork and the like, and at one point a budget-shy studio wanted a drastically smaller film.

Now the trades are reporting that Collet-Serra, who recently directed “Non-Stop” with his buddy Liam Neeson, has plans to return to “Akira” once he finishes the crime drama “Run All Night”, also with Neeson. (I guess you could say Collet-Serra is in the Neeson business.)

Warner Bros. has been trying to get the film off the ground for a while now, and they apparently really like Collet-Serra’s idea.

“Akira” would be a remake of Katsuhiro Ohtomo’s manga/anime of the same name. The remake will be set in New Manhattan, where we’re told “the cyberpunk sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his friend, discovered with potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities, from government medical experiments.”

Yay?

Akira (1988) Movie Image

Via : Variety

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • gomugomu

    fuck that

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

    This really should just be an American backed Japanese made film. Seriously. And if not, then an all Asian cast, or at least mostly Asian at least. “Memoirs of a Geisha” comes to mind for a comparison on how it can be done.
    If they can’t go that route then really think this through and don’t just Americanize it. Go the “Firfly” route and make the world a completely mixed world where America and Japan are the Dominating forces on Earth and there has been a cross-cultural mash up. Then you could have asian and american actors, keep mmost of the characters the way they are and change some background ones. Hell I can probably adpat this for an AMerican audience and still keep the aesthetics better than they can

    • ErickKwon

      I don’t even like the idea of a culturally mish-mashed society since we’re still talking about an America production. This will likely mean a mostly whitewashed cast despite lip-service about multiculturalism. “Firefly” is a great example where despite all the Mandarin slang and Chinese names being thrown around, it was still very much an American cast.

      • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

        Well yeah, it was an American show. That said I don’t see Whedon not auditioning any Asian Americans for the roles, but none fit the part as he saw them. The cast itself was pretty diverse though.
        If done right a culturally mish-mashed society would work well on screen. But it would have to be done right. it also depends on WHERE exactly its’ set. I don’t think Akira should actually be done as a film unless it’s set in Japan personally. I like to play devil’s advocate though. The thing is if it’s set all in Japan, and with an all asian cast a la “Geisha” it will unfortunately get stigmatized as a Japanese movie, or something along those lines. I’d love that flick with the Wachowski’s procuding and possibly directing. But yeah, Hollywood isn’t that ambitious.

        • ErickKwon

          What got me about “Firefly” was the case of convenient diversity where the only non-white main cast were an old man, a sexy woman (who was married to a white guy) and a vaguely ethnic Companion. What’s worse, it didn’t even deliver on Asian guest characters except for the occasional henchmen and background extras. But the entrenched whiteness of modern genre movies and TV is a discussion for another time. As for settings, I think you’re on the money with an established east/west melting pot, say a future Japanified LA or NYC or Westernized Tokyo. Add a few more decades or even a century to the timeline of the manga and anime so that it would be believable to have large multicultural population.

  • lightningbarer

    Well I’m going to rant.
    When this movie comes out I really don’t want to see that much in the ways of reviews, I’d like to see tons of people saying “I’m not going to see Akira” because empty seats in the cinemas and no DVD/Blu-Ray/Download sales is the only way we can tell Hollywood to Fuck Off with Anime and Manga adaptations. They’ve never done a good job with it because they never hire people who actually know the source material, mostly because they’d want to keep things authentic and that wouldn’t drive up their $$$.

    With everything that the director is saying, this is going to be a travesty of a movie, it’s going to suck harder than Dragonball Evolution wished it could suck, it’ll make The Last Airbender seem like a faithful story in comparison, makeyou dream of the days when you only had Guyver or Dark Hero to worry about, or hope they’ll re-release in cinemas the live action Fist of the North Star…or better yet, it’ll make you yearn for the days when you could say “Anime is a staple of Geek Culture”.
    All signs point to this movie being a travesty of an adaptation, there’s no chance it’ll be even remotely good.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      Don’t care. Still want my Ninja Scroll live action flick!!! Still say American funding but full asian cast and crew with minial interference from Hollywood. Give me something along the lines of Fordbidden Kigdom or even 47 Ronin (but with better scripts) Those had the right look, and feel, but didn’t do well at the box office, partly because I think Americans are hestitant to see a full on Asian cast film (which is sad) unless it gets critical acclaim like “Memoirs of a Geisha”

      • lightningbarer

        I always try to hold out hope that movies converted from other mediums are going to be good, but I seriously doubt that hollywood would allow something like crowd sourcing movies to be screened nationally/internationally, it would begin the death knell of the studios. I’m sure it may happen with indie projects(I’ve seen a few different fan Live Action Anime projects that I’ve already donated to) on a larger scale as things like Indiegogo and Kickstarter get more attention.

        What you mentioned in reference to Ninja Scroll like Forbidden Kingdom(bought the DVD but haven’t watched it yet) would suit the movie very well in a movie format, but I still cringe at the idea of giving studio’s hints that we-as fans-want to see Jubei Kibagami in live action, I can see them picking someone like Christian Bale for it, just to get the average joe in the seats. Because it’s not about being faithful to the source for them, it’s about making money and not picking someone suited for the role better.
        That’s why I lean towards the side of “don’t make them”, because I’ve been let down by hollywood so many times before with other conversions like Video Games or books.

        • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

          Well see way back when, DiCaprio was attached to Ninja Scroll, but as a producer only. He was supposed to get up and coming j-pop/turned actors for the film. Japan has done well recently with a few of them. The Kenshin flicks, Death Note, and even Gantz. were decent. If they stayed that close but with a US budget I’m good. I never want to say don’t make it because then we may never get a good one. Comic Book Movies were the same. I always said it couldn’t be done. But look at all the good ones we’ve gotten. Just need the right visionary. I would love for like Del toro or someone to get on board and then get the Asian cast crew.