Ever in search of the Next Big Thing™, Hollywood thought it had found it: Live-action adaptations of classic anime. These cartoons have a decidcated hardcore audience, tons of built-in name recognition, and the sorts of exciting visuals that lend themselves to massively budgeted CGI spectacles. It was perfect. This would work.
Life was good for Jordan Peele — star of a massively successful sketch comedy show, a nice little recurring role on FX’s Fargo, and he’s married to Chelsea Peretti, one of the coolest, funniest women currently working. Then he sprung his directorial debut Get Out on an unsuspecting America and everything rocketed to the next level. The massive windfall he conjured with a paltry $4.5 million budget blew open the gates of Hollywood for him, and like all novice filmmakers, a high-profile sophomore feature can’t be far off. Today brings the news as to what that next step might be, and it appears that Warner Bros. has big plans for Peele.
Whether you choose to overlook the accusations of whitewashing levied against Paramount’s upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie is entirely up to you, but there are certainly some who are rooting for the film to open doors for other anime projects. Studios aren’t exactly hot-spots for innovative thinking; if Ghost in the Shell bombs next weekend, there will no-doubt be executives at Paramount who claim the only real lesson is that American audiences don’t like Anime. That would be a real blow to fans of the long-gestating adaptation of Akira, the seminal 1988 animated movie by Katsuhiro Otomo that has been an inspiration to countless science fiction movies and television shows that follow.
A live action remake of the beloved 1988 anime Akira has been floating around Hollywood for over a decade, attracting and dropping actors and directors at a shocking rate (at one point, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart were set to star0. For whatever reason, this film doesn’t want to get made. But Warner Bros. isn’t giving up on this project and if a new rumor is to be believed, they’ve officially reached out to one of the most powerful and popular filmmakers in their regular employ to make it happen. So, how do you feel about not one, but three Akira films spearheaded by Christopher Nolan?
A live-action, big screen adaptation of classic Japanese anime Akira has been in the works since 2008, when Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and producer Andrew Lazar acquired the rights to the project. Several starts and stops ensued, with several writers and directors attached and many actors eyed for leading roles at various stages. Last we heard, Akira was dead, but it is now very much un-dead as Warner Bros. has hired new Daredevil showrunner Marco Ramirez to write the screenplay.
The last we heard about the attempted remake of 'Akira' was that the film stalled out in development, with Jaume Collet-Serra leaving the project because of budget disputes, and with Garret Hedlund attached to star, but things have mostly been quiet for the last year. Well, the project is back on and Collet-Serra is in talks to return to the director's chair.
Last year, we saw intriguing hints at what a live-action 'Akira' movie might have looked like via some lovely storyboards by artist Chris Weston. Today we've got a whole batch of concept art from three separate iterations of the film, which is still waiting to get off the ground.