Director Albert Hughes Leaves AKIRA

     May 26, 2011


Director Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) will no longer be directing Warner Bros. adaptation of the acclaimed manga Akira.  Hughes left the project over “creative differences”, but before you assume that’s the nice way of saying Hughes told the studio to fuck straight off, Deadline reports that he still plans to set up a different movie at the studio in the near future.

It’s possible that Hughes left the film over the studio’s uncertainty over who to cast in the lead roles of Tetsuo and Kaneda.  At first, they were looking at a diverse array of actors ranging from rising stars like Andrew Garfield and Garrett Hedlund to more established names like Robert Pattinson and Chris Pine.  But then Keanu Reeves started circling the project and suddenly Warner Bros wanted a more established box office star.  However, he passed on the film and now the studio is back to their original list.  That has to be frustrating for a director and I’m not surprised that Hughes has backed out.  Hit the jump for more details on the project.

Now that Hughes is out, Warner Bros. is actively seeking a new director to replace him.  The studio bought the rights two years ago for seven figures and intends to split the six-volume series into two films which each film covering three volumes.  The manga was previously adapted into an influential anime in 1988.  The Warner Bros. adaptation will also reset the story from Neo-Tokyo to Neo-Manhattan.  Here’s the synopsis for the first volume:

Akira is set in the post-apocalypse Neo-Tokyo of 2019, a vast metropolis built on the ashes of a Tokyo annihilated by an apocalyptic blast of unknown power that triggered World War III. The lives of two streetwise teenage friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, change forever when dormant paranormal abilities begin to waken in Tetsuo, who becomes a target for a shadowy government operation, a group who will stop at nothing to prevent another catastrophe like that which leveled Tokyo. And at the core of their motivation is a raw, all-consuming fear: a fear of someone — or something — of unthinkably monstrous power known only as… Akira. And Akira is about to rise! [Amazon]

Obviously there’s a lot of leeway in “teenage” friends when you have Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, and James McAvoy up for Tetsuo, and Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake, and Joaquin Phoenix being courted for Kaneda.  Warner Bros. is still planning to get the movie into production this year or in early 2012.


  • Thuan Dang

    I would like to see John Carpenter make Akira. That would be nuts.

    • Michael

      I would just like to see the project shut down. That would be smart.

      • Pol

        I would like to see John Carpenter shut down a power switch manufacturing company. That would be mildly humorous.

  • Phoenix

    The only way to make a faithful adaptation of the manga would be to find a director with a lot of clout and integrity. Just off the top of my head I think that Christopher Nolan or JJ Abrams would be a fantastic choice to adapt Akira.

    • Steven

      I don’t think a faithful adaptation IS possible, not unless you wanted to spread it across a bunch of movies. Personally I thought the original anime borrowed enough key elements from the manga to make it unique AND enjoyable with just ONE movie… I’ve also never been completely interested in seeing a “faithful’ adaptation of anything: I’m not looking to see something I’ve already seen once before just for the sake of comparison.

      That is all… now make way for “hollywood hates asians”, “they’re raping my childhood” and all of the other topics that pop up when Akira gets mentioned.

      • Jason

        It says a lot about the ignorance of an individual when he/she equates statements like “they’re raping my childhood” with the far more serious issue of racism.

        Really Steven, grow up.

      • Michael

        Well said, Jason. I wholeheartedly back up your statement.

      • Steven the Equator

        I said that they are common topics of discussion that come up whenever this movie is mentioned; I never once insinuated that both topics are on par at an intellectual level… THAT, my friend, was entirely YOUR OWN doing.

      • Jason

        Considering that this news had nothing to do with casting it would make little sense for a discussion to start about casting which is where the issue of Hollywood’s racism comes up.

        Yet you bring it up along with “they’re raping my childhood” which is a phrase that has become an online joke when supposedly people go over the top and/or unreasonable with complaints about a film adaptation or sequel to a beloved property.

        So if it wasn’t your intention to imply that Hollywood being racist and “they’re raping my childhood” are equal in terms of lack of credibility, you certainly gave that impression.

    • FatMasterBass

      There’s literally no way this can be better than the original, faithful or not. Live-action adaptions of animation are OBJECTIVE downgrades, because animation is simply better. The industry needs to grow up and realize this.

      In a perfect world animation would reign supreme over the industry and live-action nonsense would be the niche. Characters and worlds created with human imagination will always be better than plastic sets and real people playing dress-up and pretend.

  • fabrice

    i really really hope than they will never make this movie

    robert pattinson and justin timberlake? are you fucking serious?

  • your mom

    Tyler Perry

  • chief

    shit of actors for kaneda x testuo , i want joseph gordon lewitt and leonardo for testuo x kaneda !!!!!

  • Zod6666

    im actually crying of happiness:D

  • Agent_Black

    I have no qualms about Hughes leaving this project. Book of Eli was aesthetically pleasing but lacked intelligence and depth, besides, if Denzel Washington’s character was so smart he would have simply memorised and destroyed the King James bible or hidden it on top of a mountain or some such… not wander a desert full of bandits and rapists for it to potentially fall into the wrong hands (duh)

  • John

    Too bad Chris Cunningham is a shut-in who only comes out with something every 3 or 4 years…. damn he’d be good. he’d be real good. I’d like to see what he’d do with the mutation scene.

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  • FatMasterBass

    Jesus christ does the movie industry have any fucking standards? Why does everyone want to cast a bunch of prettyboy adult white people to play Japanese teenagers?