Warner Bros. continues to insist upon a live-action adaptation of Akira despite a lack of public interest and going through a roster of directors that has currently landed on Taika Waititi. It’s not that Akira is “bad” (I personally don’t care for it, but I understand its popularity), but despite the fandom for certain anime properties, we have yet to see an adaptation that really takes off. Ghost in the Shell and Alita: Battle Angel both flopped, and while it’s possible Akira is a success, the odds aren’t in its favor.
However, Waititi remains committed to Akira and explained to IGN how the scheduling worked out:
“Unfortunately, the timing with Akira, because we’ve been working really hard on the script, we had to keep pushing the start date for the shoot,” Waititi said. “We ended up having to push it a couple weeks too far, which actually ate into the Thor schedule, because they were very close together. And that got pushed again and again, and it just got too far into the Thor schedule to be able to make it work. And my first commitment was to Marvel to make that film, so now I’ve kind of had to take Akira and sort of shift it around to the tail-end of Thor and move it down a couple of years.”
The funny thing in all this is that Thor: Love and Thunder isn’t even Waititi’s next movie. Before he gets rolling on Thor, he has time to make a smaller movie, so he’s going to do the dramedy Next Goal Wins with Michael Fassbender, which is about an American Somoan football team trying to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
I’m curious to see if Warner Bros. will remain patient with Waititi, but I have the feeling they will. His new movie, Jojo Rabbit, won the Audience Award at TIFF, which means it’s on track for at least a Best Picture nomination at the Oscar, and so that’s a lot of acclaim that Waititi is carrying with him into Akira. It would be wise to let him take the project to the finish line rather than gambling on another director while Waititi goes off to make his other movies.