The long-gestating adaptation of Akira is finally moving forward after being awarded an $18.5 million dollar tax credit from the state of California. The move comes short of two years since Thor Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi was a reported frontrunner to direct the film since its development at Warner Bros. Pictures began in 2002.
Akira was created by mangaka Otomo Katsuhiro who shepherded both Kodansha’s 1982 manga and his 1988 feature 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. As reported in 2017, Waititi’s name arose in the discussions at the time with word that two films would be developed to tackle three installments of the manga series.
Andrew Lazar and Leonardo DiCaprio are producing the film’s shoot which will run 71 days in California, and reportedly generate $43 million in wages to 200 below-the line crew members, and more than 5,000 extras according to Deadline.
“We are thrilled with the opportunity to shoot Akira in California,” said Ravi Mehta, Warner Bros. Pictures EVP of physical production and finance on Tuesday of the film and the tax credits it has been awarded. “The availability of top-notch crew members, plus the wide variety of location choices and predictable weather are second to none,” the exec added of the upcoming project.
DiCaprio makes his return to the big screen in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood with Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Mike Moh this July.