Years of rotating may have finally come to a halt for the revolving door of directors in the wake of the longstanding live-action development of hit 1982 manga and Toho’s subequent ’88 OVA, Akira. Its prospects now reportedly lie with current talks between Warner Bros. and director/actor Taika Waititi with the goal of making two films centered on three installments of Kodansha’s six volumes series.
Created by Otomo Katsuhiro who shephered the 1988 feature film from Toho, the story centers on two members of a biker gang, childhood friends Kaneda and Tetsuo, living in post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo who find themselves embroiled in government corruption and secrecy when a military experiment turns Tetsuo into a psionic madman. Akira is long considered a staple of Japanese science fiction, cyberpunk and action entertainment culture, in addition to adding to much of Otomo’s acclaim as one of the most prolific innovators in the world of film and entertainment.
Watiti’s name is the latest to emerge following mentions of folks like Stephen Norrington, the Hughes Brothers, Ruairi Robinson, Jaume Collet-Serra, Justin Lin, Christopher Nolan and Jordan Peele to name a few. Actors up for roles, in a time when whitewashing was a much quieter issue, included that of Garrett Hedlund and Michael Pitt – something to mull over as progress on this project moves forward in the hopes that principal Asian talent gets its day in the spotlight following concerns with previous adaptations like Adam Wingard’s Death Note, Rupert Sanders’s Ghost In The Shell and Neil Marshall’s Hellboy: Rise Of The Blood Queen.
Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar is producing Akira with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson.
Watiti, best known as the award-wining helmer of 2016’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople, is just weeks away from the theatrical release of his latest contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Thor: Ragnarok, which opens on November 3 and Nerdist presented its own retro trailer for fans ardent and fond of 80’s fantasy sci-fi tropes. I figured I’d share it below as it gives the Akira news a bit of revelance but feel free to comment below and give us your take.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.