Exclusive AKIRA Movie Update

by     Posted 4 years, 223 days ago

Akira movie image - slice.jpg

Early last year, Variety reported Warner Bros. was hard at work trying to adapt the ridiculously popular anime “Akira” into two live-action feature films. Rumors were everywhere that Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon Levitt were going to star in the picture and it seemed like any moment we were going to read about production commencing.

It’s now September 2009 and…nothing. The “Akira” movie’s gone quiet and when that happens, it usually means a project is troubled or it’s in development hell. But thanks to a trusted source, I’ve got an update that should make fans anxious to see a big-screen “Akira” happy. You don’t need to expand you psychic field to find out what I know. Just hit the jump.

akira_movie_image__3_.jpgAccording to my source, screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, guys whose work I like, are about to turn in their version of an “Akira” movie and the reason why the project has been so quiet is they’ve been hard at work trying to get the script right.

For those that aren’t familiar with their work, they wrote the amazing adaptation of “Children of Men” and they’re also credited with “Iron Man” (although a lot of that movie was written on the set). But my point still stands that I like their work and I’m happy they’re taking a crack at it.

Also, while I couldn’t get a lot of info about what changes are being made from the anime to make the feature film work, I did confirm the story is still set in post-apocalyptic Manhattan in the near future. I also confirmed the famous motorcycle is definitely a part of the film, but that bit of info shouldn’t surprise anyone.

From what I could gather, the movie is still a priority for the studio, and if the script meets with approval from key people, the movie could go into production in 2010 with a release date in 2011. Also, this isn’t going to be some mid-range budget movie. If the film goes into production, it’s going to be one of those BIG event movies.

Of course, everything I just wrote is based on a lot of factors, but that’s where the project currently stands. Anyone hoping for an “Akira” live-action movie should cross their fingers that Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby’s screenplay is great and everyone involved gets excited. I’ll have more on this story as I hear it.

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  • Wanker 666

    Not set in Neo Tokyo? =EPIC FAIL

  • Wanker 666

    Not set in Neo Tokyo? =EPIC FAIL

  • nelson

    ^ guess what tony stark was’nt the exact age tobey was a 29 year old playing a teenager kingpin was black

    adaptation is the key word

  • nelson

    ^ guess what tony stark was’nt the exact age tobey was a 29 year old playing a teenager kingpin was black

    adaptation is the key word

  • aaronsullivan

    Wow. So… Americans? Will there be a token Japanese or at least Asian character or two? The art style of Katsuhiro Otomo is realistic enough in Manga and films that the characters look Japanese, unlike so many other Anime styles. Just seems a major bummer to ethnically homogenize the cast by placing it in… Manhattan. I guess there’s not enough movies made in NYC. :rolleyes:

    Plus… are we going to be subjected to some imagery of downtown Manhattan being blasted (again) in the opening sequence?

    Anyway, I do wish the writers the best and there’s always hope. I just thought it would be cool to see something a little different. The exotic characters and locale are part of the draw to Akira, after all. What did I know of Japanese street punks and underground resistance fighters, and religious zealots and politics? Very little. Take all that stuff and put it in NYC and it starts feeling like we’ve seen it all before.

    Now I’m just despairing again.

    • GeneralNerd

      Manhattan? Ethnically homogenous? Compared to TOKYO?! What are you smoking?

      They could set it in Manhattan and the lead could still be Asian and it would work. What, with Manhattan being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.

      • Pere

        Setting it in Manhattan means the lead will NEVER be Asian. It means Asians will be lucky to get a token character who gets killed off early.

  • aaronsullivan

    Wow. So… Americans? Will there be a token Japanese or at least Asian character or two? The art style of Katsuhiro Otomo is realistic enough in Manga and films that the characters look Japanese, unlike so many other Anime styles. Just seems a major bummer to ethnically homogenize the cast by placing it in… Manhattan. I guess there’s not enough movies made in NYC. :rolleyes:

    Plus… are we going to be subjected to some imagery of downtown Manhattan being blasted (again) in the opening sequence?

    Anyway, I do wish the writers the best and there’s always hope. I just thought it would be cool to see something a little different. The exotic characters and locale are part of the draw to Akira, after all. What did I know of Japanese street punks and underground resistance fighters, and religious zealots and politics? Very little. Take all that stuff and put it in NYC and it starts feeling like we’ve seen it all before.

    Now I’m just despairing again.

    • GeneralNerd

      Manhattan? Ethnically homogenous? Compared to TOKYO?! What are you smoking?

      They could set it in Manhattan and the lead could still be Asian and it would work. What, with Manhattan being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.

      • Pere

        Setting it in Manhattan means the lead will NEVER be Asian. It means Asians will be lucky to get a token character who gets killed off early.

  • Frackinjackson

    The last attempt to bring this to the screen mentioned a ‘Neo-Manhatten’. A New York rebuilt with Japanese money. That works. Gives you English speaking language but with a Japanese flavor. I would love to see a movie of this. But don’t just have this take place in New York!

  • Frackinjackson

    The last attempt to bring this to the screen mentioned a ‘Neo-Manhatten’. A New York rebuilt with Japanese money. That works. Gives you English speaking language but with a Japanese flavor. I would love to see a movie of this. But don’t just have this take place in New York!

  • Matt

    Neo-manhattan – how creative – not. A big part of the movie is that it is both based on an anime, and that anime is set in a futuristic Japan. It would’ve been more interesting to see a culturally mixed Tokyo (with a mixed eastern and western cast in Neo-Tokyo) from both a story perspective, art perspective but also a background perspective. NYC is always a backdrop and it kinda sucks.

    • Deet

      that’s exactly what I was thinking…and if the movie execs are worried that placing it in a foreign country would hurt profits they can just take a look at “District 9″ which, not only had no stars, but was placed in fucking South Africa…sheesh, can people at least attempt to push the envelope? What happened to the Hollywood I grew up with? (probably all in my imagination…)

  • Matt

    Neo-manhattan – how creative – not. A big part of the movie is that it is both based on an anime, and that anime is set in a futuristic Japan. It would’ve been more interesting to see a culturally mixed Tokyo (with a mixed eastern and western cast in Neo-Tokyo) from both a story perspective, art perspective but also a background perspective. NYC is always a backdrop and it kinda sucks.

    • Deet

      that’s exactly what I was thinking…and if the movie execs are worried that placing it in a foreign country would hurt profits they can just take a look at “District 9″ which, not only had no stars, but was placed in fucking South Africa…sheesh, can people at least attempt to push the envelope? What happened to the Hollywood I grew up with? (probably all in my imagination…)

  • Clambo

    Twice this article mentions people who looking forward to a live action version of Akira being made. Who in the world are these people?
    Let’s hear from them. Why would you want to see this film remade as a live action film?

  • Clambo

    Twice this article mentions people who looking forward to a live action version of Akira being made. Who in the world are these people?
    Let’s hear from them. Why would you want to see this film remade as a live action film?

  • Donald

    A live action film sounds like a very very bad idea.
    No one I know thinks it could be anything but a disaster.

  • Donald

    A live action film sounds like a very very bad idea.
    No one I know thinks it could be anything but a disaster.

  • Ed

    Don’t worry Aaron I’m sure there will be a token Asian girlfriends paired with the white male leads. That’s the Hollywood norm.

  • Ed

    Don’t worry Aaron I’m sure there will be a token Asian girlfriends paired with the white male leads. That’s the Hollywood norm.

  • Booo

    Children of men sucked. Get your own idea Hollywood, quit ruing classic entertainment. I don`t need to see Brad Pitt desecrating something I actually like.

    • frozen01

      Children of Men sucked? On what planet? The pacing and tone were perfect. The imagery was haunting. The music was moving. Some… SOME… of the acting left something to be desired, but no movie is without flaw.
      And where the hell does Brad Pitt come into this?

  • Booo

    Children of men sucked. Get your own idea Hollywood, quit ruing classic entertainment. I don`t need to see Brad Pitt desecrating something I actually like.

    • frozen01

      Children of Men sucked? On what planet? The pacing and tone were perfect. The imagery was haunting. The music was moving. Some… SOME… of the acting left something to be desired, but no movie is without flaw.
      And where the hell does Brad Pitt come into this?

  • Jorel

    I don’t see why they can’t find authentic asian actors to portray the characters (I think Leo Dicaprio is starring WTF)or scrape up the money to film in Tokyo which is a much more lively city than New York by far and has an energy that not even New york can emulate. (if you’ve never been you don’t know what you’re missing)
    The story originated in Japan and its such an American trait to take anything great that wasn’t contrived on American soil and brand it as their own. I hate that. They see what it did to Dragonball, Streetfighter, etc.

  • Jorel

    I don’t see why they can’t find authentic asian actors to portray the characters (I think Leo Dicaprio is starring WTF)or scrape up the money to film in Tokyo which is a much more lively city than New York by far and has an energy that not even New york can emulate. (if you’ve never been you don’t know what you’re missing)
    The story originated in Japan and its such an American trait to take anything great that wasn’t contrived on American soil and brand it as their own. I hate that. They see what it did to Dragonball, Streetfighter, etc.

  • mat

    this movie should not be made. i was happy when i heard that it was canned i’m hoping that’s still true). the fact that anyone who’s familiar with Akira would think this is a good idea is disturbing.

  • mat

    this movie should not be made. i was happy when i heard that it was canned i’m hoping that’s still true). the fact that anyone who’s familiar with Akira would think this is a good idea is disturbing.

  • BlahBlah

    Ohmy, look at all the whiners…but I guess that’s expected. All I know is that I’m excited for this. And Children of Men is one of my all-time favorites so having the writers work on this is great :).

  • BlahBlah

    Ohmy, look at all the whiners…but I guess that’s expected. All I know is that I’m excited for this. And Children of Men is one of my all-time favorites so having the writers work on this is great :).

  • Norman619

    The people complaining about it being set in New York vs. Tokyo make me laugh. The draw of Akira wasn’t what city it was in or the ethnicity of the characters. What made peopel love Akira was the fantastic story and the lush and rich visuals. This thing could be set anywhere and it would work fine as long as the script writers remain true to the story and the characters. I just hope the call him Kaneda not Canada like they do in the redubed mostrosity they are peddeling now.

    • b-ri

      I love Children of Men but I’m still not looking forward to this. I’ve read the books and seen the movie and in my opinion Akira is distinctly Japanese and makes about as much sense as a Chinese version of Apocalypse Now. I’m sure they can squeeze a decent movie out of this but I feel like the cultural relevance that made it a great story and location will be lost in translation. Besides, who the hell is going to play the role of the American military? lol.

  • Norman619

    The people complaining about it being set in New York vs. Tokyo make me laugh. The draw of Akira wasn’t what city it was in or the ethnicity of the characters. What made peopel love Akira was the fantastic story and the lush and rich visuals. This thing could be set anywhere and it would work fine as long as the script writers remain true to the story and the characters. I just hope the call him Kaneda not Canada like they do in the redubed mostrosity they are peddeling now.

    • b-ri

      I love Children of Men but I’m still not looking forward to this. I’ve read the books and seen the movie and in my opinion Akira is distinctly Japanese and makes about as much sense as a Chinese version of Apocalypse Now. I’m sure they can squeeze a decent movie out of this but I feel like the cultural relevance that made it a great story and location will be lost in translation. Besides, who the hell is going to play the role of the American military? lol.

  • Joey

    Yeah Hollywood, get your own ideas! Wait, Akira was based off of a comic . . . so I don’t see how this is a whole lot different. This could go very very wrong, and absolutely EVERYTHING will have to be perfect for it to work. I don’t know who was hoping for a live action Akira, doesn’t seem a good risk/reward. It will need to be dark, very stylized, graphic, and extremely story/character heavy. In other words, to make it a good movie the popcorn movie watchers won’t like it anyway. This whole thing just worries me.

    • Tivor

      Akira was based off of a comic…. which the director of the movie drew himself. So yeah, it is a whole lot different. :P But I agree, it’s gonna be really tough for the live-action Akira to please both hardcore fans and casual moviegoers. Risk/reward is definitely stacked up against them.

  • Joey

    Yeah Hollywood, get your own ideas! Wait, Akira was based off of a comic . . . so I don’t see how this is a whole lot different. This could go very very wrong, and absolutely EVERYTHING will have to be perfect for it to work. I don’t know who was hoping for a live action Akira, doesn’t seem a good risk/reward. It will need to be dark, very stylized, graphic, and extremely story/character heavy. In other words, to make it a good movie the popcorn movie watchers won’t like it anyway. This whole thing just worries me.

    • Tivor

      Akira was based off of a comic…. which the director of the movie drew himself. So yeah, it is a whole lot different. :P But I agree, it’s gonna be really tough for the live-action Akira to please both hardcore fans and casual moviegoers. Risk/reward is definitely stacked up against them.

  • chirpie

    Leonardo will NOT be staring. He’s said so himself and it’s been reported eons ago that is the case.

    Having it being set in America isn’t a deal breaker for me, but if Tetsuo and Kaneda don’t stay Tetsuo and Kaneda (in ethnicity and name) I’ll be lining up with the haters.

    If this summer has taught us anything, it’s that star power and conventional wisdom (I.E. handsome white male leads) are completely outdated marketing determinators.

  • chirpie

    Leonardo will NOT be staring. He’s said so himself and it’s been reported eons ago that is the case.

    Having it being set in America isn’t a deal breaker for me, but if Tetsuo and Kaneda don’t stay Tetsuo and Kaneda (in ethnicity and name) I’ll be lining up with the haters.

    If this summer has taught us anything, it’s that star power and conventional wisdom (I.E. handsome white male leads) are completely outdated marketing determinators.

  • millionairegirl

    My friend told a me a hot dating place ____ WealthySocial.com ___, where you have the opportunity to make friends and chat with a millionaire or hot girl ,supermodels and so on.First i can’t believe,then i sign up there.I found celebrities’ profile with sexy photos and newest blogs there. you can know more about them. By the way I really got many friends including celebrities. it’s so exciting.

  • millionairegirl

    My friend told a me a hot dating place ____ WealthySocial.com ___, where you have the opportunity to make friends and chat with a millionaire or hot girl ,supermodels and so on.First i can’t believe,then i sign up there.I found celebrities’ profile with sexy photos and newest blogs there. you can know more about them. By the way I really got many friends including celebrities. it’s so exciting.

  • will

    it was a manga before it was an anime.
    not that a online film pulication cares much for these minor facts.
    speaking of minor facts, fuck American remakes.

    everyone watch The Host before someone buttrapes it.

  • will

    it was a manga before it was an anime.
    not that a online film pulication cares much for these minor facts.
    speaking of minor facts, fuck American remakes.

    everyone watch The Host before someone buttrapes it.

  • velsefer

    Stop ruining akira….

  • velsefer

    Stop ruining akira….

  • Raymond Ogilvie

    No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no! We don’t want a landmark film remade by a bunch of Hollywood hacks! Leave the classics alone!

  • Raymond Ogilvie

    No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no! We don’t want a landmark film remade by a bunch of Hollywood hacks! Leave the classics alone!

  • The Very Reverend Billy D.

    Welllll – I dunno if there is any real call for this to be made OTHER than H’wood’s consistent fear of new projects, despite the fact that more often than not when new things are given a try they seem to excel…

    District 9 & The Hurt Locker come to mind but I’m sure there are others that didn’t really rely SO HEAVILY on a prior “proven” element… the painful re-make of every Saturday Morning cartoon spirngs forth.

    Just my $.02 worth

  • The Very Reverend Billy D.

    Welllll – I dunno if there is any real call for this to be made OTHER than H’wood’s consistent fear of new projects, despite the fact that more often than not when new things are given a try they seem to excel…

    District 9 & The Hurt Locker come to mind but I’m sure there are others that didn’t really rely SO HEAVILY on a prior “proven” element… the painful re-make of every Saturday Morning cartoon spirngs forth.

    Just my $.02 worth

  • Jef Millstone

    Folks should read Takashi Murakami’s brilliant read of Akira as evoking a distinctly dystopian Japanese response to the American fire and nuclear destruction of the country during WW2. So one can only expect Hollywood to neutralize this edge when it whitewashes the cast, with the exception of the hot Asian female girlfriends, and re-assert American hegemony in the narrative of the live action film. No way will Hollywood sell any Asian male leads unless they neutered or spout confucianisms left and right. I shudder to think of Hollywood retaining the title and casting white actors in yellowface. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually happened.

    • Pere

      That sounds really interesting–I love Murakami. (You mean Takashi Murakami the artist and not Haruki Murakami the writer, right? Although I love him too.) Where could I find it?

  • Jef Millstone

    Folks should read Takashi Murakami’s brilliant read of Akira as evoking a distinctly dystopian Japanese response to the American fire and nuclear destruction of the country during WW2. So one can only expect Hollywood to neutralize this edge when it whitewashes the cast, with the exception of the hot Asian female girlfriends, and re-assert American hegemony in the narrative of the live action film. No way will Hollywood sell any Asian male leads unless they neutered or spout confucianisms left and right. I shudder to think of Hollywood retaining the title and casting white actors in yellowface. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually happened.

    • Pere

      That sounds really interesting–I love Murakami. (You mean Takashi Murakami the artist and not Haruki Murakami the writer, right? Although I love him too.) Where could I find it?

  • timmm

    Who cares if the cast is asian? It’s Americans making the movie, with american money, and will be shown and advertised mostly in America, where caucasians are the majority. It only makes logical sense to appeal to the majority when it comes to this, it’s really that simple.

  • timmm

    Who cares if the cast is asian? It’s Americans making the movie, with american money, and will be shown and advertised mostly in America, where caucasians are the majority. It only makes logical sense to appeal to the majority when it comes to this, it’s really that simple.

  • msmuse101

    OI! Akira is a classic anime, leave it be, it shouldn’t have to be put in live action, american lemans terms just so a bunch of stupid blockbuster but munches can enjoy the story line! If they want it so bad, strap em down and make em watch the original! an I swear if Mr Ladida DiCaprio puts a finger on that beautiful bike’s transmission I’m goin Brialeos on his arse, with the rabbit ears and everythin!

  • msmuse101

    OI! Akira is a classic anime, leave it be, it shouldn’t have to be put in live action, american lemans terms just so a bunch of stupid blockbuster but munches can enjoy the story line! If they want it so bad, strap em down and make em watch the original! an I swear if Mr Ladida DiCaprio puts a finger on that beautiful bike’s transmission I’m goin Brialeos on his arse, with the rabbit ears and everythin!

  • mykalroze

    Here comes more shallow, mindless tinkering from the racists who run Hollywood. And the whitewashing of the cast and story is soon to come.
    Whatever made the story interesting or deep will be bleached out of it, so as to appeal to American ignoramuses, of which, unfortunately, there are millions.
    I’m sure they’ll find white guys to play “Tetsuo” and “Kaneda,” who will have giggling, Japanese schoolgirls draped all over them. The white filmmakers will point to the Japanese white-guy finger-food as their idea of casting Asians, and of diversity.
    I hope this movie flops, and flops hard. Damn, Hollywood racist whites really don’t learn anything from their failures, do they?
    They only open their eyes when they make money. This summer’s proof that star names (i.e., WHITE star names) aren’t needed to make a film a hit. Nor does that movie have to be a remake or a sequel.

  • mykalroze

    Here comes more shallow, mindless tinkering from the racists who run Hollywood. And the whitewashing of the cast and story is soon to come.
    Whatever made the story interesting or deep will be bleached out of it, so as to appeal to American ignoramuses, of which, unfortunately, there are millions.
    I’m sure they’ll find white guys to play “Tetsuo” and “Kaneda,” who will have giggling, Japanese schoolgirls draped all over them. The white filmmakers will point to the Japanese white-guy finger-food as their idea of casting Asians, and of diversity.
    I hope this movie flops, and flops hard. Damn, Hollywood racist whites really don’t learn anything from their failures, do they?
    They only open their eyes when they make money. This summer’s proof that star names (i.e., WHITE star names) aren’t needed to make a film a hit. Nor does that movie have to be a remake or a sequel.

  • Curtismus

    I have serious doubts about this film and i hope it NEVER becomes a reality. No amount of live action will ever do the original justice, and Akira is just perfect the way it is. Dont make this the next step in ruining another Japanese cultural masterpiece. Dont make this just like Dragonball

  • Curtismus

    I have serious doubts about this film and i hope it NEVER becomes a reality. No amount of live action will ever do the original justice, and Akira is just perfect the way it is. Dont make this the next step in ruining another Japanese cultural masterpiece. Dont make this just like Dragonball

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