Warner Bros.’ troubled adaptation of the popular manga Akira may yet make it in front of cameras. The studio has been trying to get Akira off the ground for years, and most recently Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) was attached to direct with a cast that included Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Helena Bonham Carter, and Ken Watanabe. Collet-Serra had managed to reduce the budget down to $90 million from Albert Hughes’ $180 million version of the film, but just as production was looming closer, WB hit pause on the project with the aim of bringing the budget down further to somewhere between $60 million and $70 million. Collet-Serra subsequently left the project to focus his efforts on other pursuits, and word on the feature has been practically non-existent for over a year.
However, reports have now surfaced that Warner Bros. is revving Akira up once more, complete with Collet-Serra returning to the director’s chair. Hit the jump for more.
Back in November, we reported that Liam Neeson was in talks to star in the Warner Bros. thriller The All Nighter (a.k.a. Run All Night). According to Deadline, the title has reverted to Run All Night and Neeson is confirmed to star. Neeson will play an aging hitman who, in order to protect his wife and son, must take on his former boss in a single night. He then finds himself on the run from the mob and authorities with his estranged son in tow. Although Run All Night comes from a spec script by Brad Ingelsby, it sounds slightly similar to the excellent 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, which centers on a man who must spend a night avoiding the mob and cops as he tries to rescue his son (Warner Bros. owns the English-language remake rights for Sleepless Night).
Deadline also reports that Jaume Collet-Serra might sign on to direct. Collet-Serra previously directed Neeson in Unknown and the upcoming airline thriller Non-Stop, which sees Neeson playing an Air Marshal trying to protect a plane that’s been taken hostage.
We’ve got a first look at perennial badass Liam Neeson in the new Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) film, Non-Stop. While it looks like Neeson has an entire plane held hostage at gunpoint, methinks maybe there’s someone nefarious just off screen. Non-Stop also stars Michelle Dockery, Julianne Moore and Scoot McNairy.
We’ve also got some lovely shots of stars Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara in Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects. While the couple looks happy in these images, the pharmaceutical-slanted plot suggests that feeling may not last. Also starring Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Side Effects opens February 8th. Hit the jump to check out all the images.
Last week, Steve attended the American Film Market (AFM) and was able to bring back some first images, posters, and synopses for a handful of upcoming projects. One such film happens to be the Liam Neeson-fronted action thriller Non-Stop, for which we now have the first detailed synopsis. The story takes place during an international flight on which Neeson is an Air Mashal. His character begins to receive a series of text messages from someone who threatens to kill a passenger every 20 minutes until $150 million is transferred into a secret account.
Neeson reunites with Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra for the pic, which is described as a mix of a mystery, actioner, and a Hitchcockian thriller. Moreover, Collet-Serra has assembled a surprisingly top-notch cast that includes Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, and Michelle Dockery. Hit the jump to read the full synopsis, which includes more detail.
We’ve got a couple of interesting casting stories to share this afternoon. First up, a trio of fine actors has joined Liam Neeson in the airplane thriller Non-Stop, raising my interest in the project significantly. Variety reports that Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly), and Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) have joined Non-Stop for director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) and producer Joel Silver. Neeson stars as a federal air marshal “who starts receiving text messages from someone claiming to be on the same flight, and who is threatening to kill its passengers.” Naturally, Neeson must discover the identity of the killer and stop him. Hit the jump for more, including casting news concerning Lars von Trier’s controversial Nymphomaniac.
Opening this weekend is director Olivier Megaton‘s Taken 2. In the sequel, Liam Neeson’s character unwisely takes his family on a European vacation, only to find himself and his wife (Famke Janssen) taken hostage by the family members of the henchmen that Neeson brutally murdered in the first film. The film also stars Maggie Grace and Rade Serbedzija. For more on the film, here’s four clips and all our previous coverage.
Last week in New York City I got to sit down with Neeson for an exclusive interview. We talked about whether he was hesitant to do a sequel, what it was like to film in Istanbul, whether the script changed during production, and more. In addition, we also talked about what it was like to host Saturday Night Live, how he was unclear regarding the nature of his role in The Dark Knight Rises or if he’d even make the final cut, whether he’ll work again with Joe Carnahan and if he knows anything about Mark Millar‘s Nemesis. He also talked playing an air marshal in director Jaume Collet-Serra‘s upcoming action film Non-Stop, which is being produced by Joel Silver. Hit the jump to watch.
The Dracula re-imagining Harker looks like it’s finally moving forward, but a director change has been made. In February of 2011, Orphan director Jaume Collet-Serra came aboard to helm the Warner Bros. pic, which follows Scotland Yard detective Jonathan Harker as he tries to track down that pesky Dracula. Russell Crowe joined the project this past February, but now Eli Roth looks to be making a return to the director’s chair as he’s poised to take over from Collet-Serra. Hit the jump for on Roth’s bloody return to the big screen.
With yesterday’s news that Kick-Ass 2 is finally moving forward with Jeff Wadlow set to direct, I wondered what movement on that sequel meant for the Liam Neeson-fronted airplane thriller Non-Stop that Wadlow was also attached to helm. My anxious, sleepless nights about Non-Stop can now come to an end as Variety reports that director Jaume Collet-Serra is in talks to reteam with his Unknown star and take over the director’s chair on Non-Stop for Dark Castle Productions. The script was written by first-timers John Richardson and Chris Roach and the story takes place on an international flight on which Neeson is forced to stop a threat (naturally). Hit the jump for more, including what this means for the live-action Akira remake.
The period adventure pic Here There Be Monsters is one of those incredibly cool-sounding projects that has been lingering in development hell for years. Robert Zemeckis was first eyeing the film as a return to live-action, then Brad Bird (The Incredibles) flirted with the pic once Zemeckis passed. Now it appears that Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have decided to go with a lesser known director to take the helm: Jaume Collet-Serra. The director was previously behind the horror feature Orphan and the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown, but he’s become quite popular as of late. In addition to being attached to the live-action adaptation of Akira, Collet-Serra is also prepping a re-imaging of the Dracula story, Harker, with Russell Crowe.
Hit the jump for more on Here There Be Monsters, including the possible casting of Bradley Cooper.
Russell Crowe is reportedly in early talks to star in Jaume Collet-Serra’s Dracula re-imagining, Harker. As we reported last year, Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy‘s script changes Jonathan Harker from a lawyer to a Scotland Yard detective who’s trying to find who’s behind a series of grisly murders (Hint: It’s Dracula). The project began to gain momentum, but then Warner Bros. moved Collet-Serra to the adaptation of Akira after Albert and Allen Hughes dropped off the project. But Vulture reports that since Akira has run into budget issues (along with even less of a reason to exist after Chronicle), the studio may try to make Harker first and then move the director back to Akira.
Hit the jump for what could keep Crowe from hunting down Dracula.
Studios have been trying to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to their blockbusters. The Lone Ranger had to wrangle for a lower budget, and Paradise Lost, and The Dark Tower have been put into limbo as studios try to figure out how to bring down costs. THR reports that Warner Bros. has put their adaptation of the manga/anime Akira on hold as they try to figure out how to re-work the script to lower the budget. Producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar, and director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) are trying to make the necessary changes, and Steve Kloves (Harry Potter) may be brought back to do another re-write after already having done one a year ago.
Hit the jump for more including a few updates.
With two of the three major roles cast for Jaume Collet-Serra’s adaptation of Akira, Warner Bros. is set to shore up the role of Tetsuo before Thanksgiving. The Unknown director already has Garret Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) and Kristen Stewart playing Kaneda and Kei respectively, but will hold screentests this Sunday and Monday for Tetsuo, the young man who channels the powerful Akira. Set to test are D.J. Cotrona (Detroit 1-8-7), Logan Marshall-Green (Devil), Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), and Rami Malek (Larry Crowne). Retesting for the role will be Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) and Alden Ehrenreich (Twixt). Hit the jump for more on Akira.
A few weeks ago, we reported that Warner Bros. may be trying to turn Jaume Collett-Serra‘s Akira remake into a cure for insomnia by making TRON: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund the frontrunner for the lead role. Now it looks like he’ll have it because according to Variety [and first reported by Twitch] Hedlund is in talks with WB to play Kaneda. Warner Bros. couldn’t make an offer to Hedlund until the budget was in place and I’m assuming the offer was, “You starred in TRON: Legacy and you’re getting a second chance at a major sci-fi blockbuster. You’re welcome.” If you think I’m being overly harsh on Hedlund, please direct me to the movie where he gave a magnetic and captivating performance.
But maybe he hasn’t been given the chance. Maybe films like Georgia Rule and Country Strong haven’t provided Hedlund with the chance to shine. However, he’s playing Dean Moriarty in the adaptation of On the Road, and that’s a damn fine character so we’ll see how he does. If you’re unfamiliar with Akira, hit the jump for a synopsis of the original manga.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on the development of the Akira remake over the past couple years, you know it has been a long and bumpy road up to this point. Warner Bros. has always remained committed to the property, though. According to Variety, the studio has finally made it official with a greenlight for a $90 million budget and an eye toward a late February/early March start date. The report confirms that Jaume Collett-Serra (Unknown) will direct, and provides this synopsis for the Steve Kloves script:
Set in New Manhattan, 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.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing for Appian Way alongside Andrew Lazar, representing Mad Chance. Katsuhiro Otomo, the man behind the Akira manga and the writer/director of the 1988 anime adaptation, will executive produce the remake. More after the jump. [Update: ...including a comment on the news that Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund's is the frontrunner for one of the lead roles.]
Despite being a bad movie, Jaume Collet-Serra’s Unknown raked in $130 million worldwide off a $30 million budget. Collet-Serra’s been linked to a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a remake of Le Cercle Rouge, and possibly the 300 prequel Battle of Artemisia. Now Variety reports that he’s in talks to direct Warner Bros’ adaptation of the anime/manga Akira. You may recall that director Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) left the project in late May and that Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves handled the latest draft of the script. Warner Bros. is now envisioning the film as a $90 million tentpole. However, we previously reported that WB was planning on splitting the six-volume manga into two films so I’m not sure if the $90 million is supposed to cover both movies or just the first one.
However, even if Collet-Serra does come on board, Warner Bros. still faces the issue of casting the two lead roles of Tetsuo and Kaneda. The futuristic story has been reset from Neo-Tokyo to Neo-Manhattan and the broad overview of the story is that Tetsuo is the leader of a biker gang who has to stop his mutated friend Kaneda from destroying the city.