Live-Action AKIRA Gets a New Director
It looks like Warner Bros. has found a new director for their live-action adaptation of Akira. This property has been trying to get to the big screen for year, but no one can seem to actually get it into production.
Maybe Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra will be the one to make it happen. The studio just hired him to direct the adaptation of the cult classic. Collet-Serra is the director of the films House of Wax, Orphan and Unknown. I thought all of those were mediocre films, but maybe there’s something deep within the director that makes him the right choice to bring Akira to life. I don’t know, I’d like to think he would make an amazing film, but no matter what happens here, there’s a big chance that they wont be able to fully capture the awesomeness of Katsuhiro Otomo's graphic novel. Not with the accountants running Hollywood.
At one point Ruairi Robinson and Albert Hughes were attached to direct the adaptation of the movie. Both directors ended up leaving the project due to creative differences. You may be happy to know that Otomo, who wrote and directed the popular 1988 Japanese anime pic of the same name, will be an executive producer on the project.
The story basically follows the leader of a biker gang in New Manhattan, who’s friend gets jacked up from a medical experiment. There are more details about the movie being made below from a draft of the script. The most recent draft was written by Steve Kloves. The film has been budgeted at $90 million dollars.
I just don’t see this film doing the original source material justice, but I am curious to see how it turns out... if it ever gets made.
Here are some previously released details from the script of the live-action version:
Here’s the description:
The story has been “Americanized,” with the center of the action taking place in New Manhattan after the decimation of the city ( an incident resembling a nuclear bomb explosion), has been blamed on the work of unknown terrorists, with the iconic shot of Akira as the sole survivor clutching his teddy bear standing solemn in the crater at ground zero.
Flash-forward to sometime in the future where protagonists Kaneda and Travis (gone is the name Tetsuo – why not just keep it? ) belong to one of several biker gangs that control the burned out old Manhattan, while the shiny new Chinese-owned-and-invested “New Manhattan” glitters back at them like a star that cannot be touched.
The story somewhat follows the animated film but introduces a new character, Ray Arcman, who is the mad scientist that created Akira by using psychic and kinetic experiments on children including the three Espers (the elderly looking 10-year-olds from the animated film).
Asian gangsters run the underworld along with several motorcycle gangs (sadly, the “Clowns” are not in the film). Illegal drugs are still in demand and the gangs in turn have to pay tribute to their bosses, the ”Packies” (Pakistanis).
Liberties are taken with some of the characters: Princess Miyako is now an elderly trash-collecting lady in Old Manhattan and the Colonel’s part doesn’t come off as strong as he did in the animated version.
There are also continuity problems with the script. In one scene, the Colonel sets off a claymore mine in order to block the approaching Black Ops army and is wounded. Yet, in another scene after this, when he is captured, The Colonel is able to take out two military policeman and operate a .50 caliber mini-gun in a helicopter gunship in order to save Kaneda – then he promptly disappears for the remainder of the film.
Yes, Travis (Tetsuo) does expand and morph into a ballooning human amoeba, but only for one short scene. I think we can all agree that this is one of the landmark, crucial scenes that needs to be in the film, yet it’s only a mere fragment.
Kaneda gets a Tech 9 machine pistol instead of the high-tech-looking plasma-type weapon that was used in the original anime, and on the iconic Akira poster.