The Live-Action AKIRA Movie Gets a Synopsis and There Are Some Changes From the Source Material

The live-action adaptation of Akira is moving forward at Warner Bros. with Leonardo DiCaprio and Katsuhiro Otomo producing and Taika Waititi directing. This film project has the potential to be epic, and with this creative team on board bringing it to life, I really do think it has a shot at being a great movie.

Thanks to Production Weekly, we have a synopsis for the film to share with you, and as you’ll see, there are some changes from the source material. I think that’s something we all expected, but I’m sure some fans won’t like the changes they see.

Here it is:

When a young man’s telekinesis is discovered by the military, he is taken in to be turned into a super weapon and his brother must race to save him before Manhattan is destroyed by his powers. Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother Tetsuo is abducted by Government agents lead by the Colonel. Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City 30 years ago when it was destroyed.

Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous, but after facing his brother again is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers. Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy. Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind, Kaneda clashes with the Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira, but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island as he did thirty years ago.

While the core and the spirt of the story remain, this version of the story will take place in Neo-Manhattan and not Neo-Tokyo. This isn’t the first time we have heard this. This has been the film’s setting for the years that it’s been in development.

The other changes deal with Kaneda and Tetsuo. In this story they are brothers instead of best friends, and Kaneda is a bartender instead of the leader of a biker gang. There is also the addition of a character named Ky Reed, who is a rebellion leader.

Now, when previously talking about the movie and his vision, Waititi made it very clear that he would cast teenage Asians in the lead roles. So, just because the movie will be set in a different location, doesn’t mean he will whitewash the characters:

"Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”

When talking about the direction he is looking to take the film he said:

“What I wanted to do was an adaptation of the books, ’cos a lot of people are like, ‘Don’t touch that film!’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not remaking the film, I want to go back to the book.’ A lot of the people freaking out haven’t even read the books, and there are six gigantic books to go through. It’s so rich. But (the anime) Akira is one of my favourite films; my mum took me to see it when I was 13 and it changed my life.”

So, regardless of the changes that we see in this synopsis, it sounds like Waititi is going to give us a film that will capture the spirt and tone of the story. I still think he’s going to give us something awesome, and I can’t wait to see what he delivers!

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