Warner Bros. has been been trying to get a live-action Akira film off the ground for a very long time now. The film will be based on Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume manga, which Otomo also directed as an anime in 1988. That anime film took the art of animation to a whole new level of greatness.
A live-action Akira film has the potential of being epically awesome. I just look at the film style and special effects we have these days, and I can't help but think that if this movie was done right, it could end up being unlike anything we've seen before. The potential that this property has is incredible. Will we see this epic Akria film that should be? Probably not.
Collider recently talked to producer Andrew Lazar who gave a little update on the film saying,
Albert Hughes is directing the film, and he’s off conceptualizing the movie with a bunch of visual artists, and we’ve just hired a new writer, Albert Torres, to work with Albert Hughes…he’s [seeming to mean Hughes] putting his stamp on Akira.
So we have confirmation that Albert Hughes of the Hughes Brothers (Book of Eli) is directing the the film. We also learn that Albert Torres has been hired to write the script for the film. His only writing credit includes Henry Poole is Here, which was a low budget indie comedy that starred Luke Wilson. The movie wasn't even really all that good, so I'm definitely not that excited about him writing the screenplay for Akira.
I'm also not too thrilled about Albert Hughes directing the film. I just don't think he has the talent to bring Akira to life on the big screen the way it needs to be. He also recently came on a Washington DC radio show where he actually talked about the movie being PG-13!? Why the hell would you want to make Akira PG-13!? This is a hard 'R' film. If Hughes takes this movie to a PG-13 rating the fans are going to eat him up and crap him out into the gutter, he won't even have the luxury of being flushed down the toilet. He also mentioned he might only direct the first of two films they have planned, because according to him he's "not into sequels."
This whole PG-13 thing may be the studios idea though. Remember what happened to Watchmen? They dropped a ton of money on the 'R' rated comic book film, and it didn't make a very big profit. They did it to please the fans, but in the end the fans didn't make up a large amount of the audience. I can see why they don't want to make the same mistake twice, but the fans of Akira are going to be pissed. Hughes says in the interview that it will be a challenge, but that it can be done.
The first draft of the script is due in September. I'm very interested to see how they end up tackling this film project but with the people they have on board working on the film, I'm not expecting much.
What do you all think?