It was mere days ago when Warner Bros. shut down the production offices on “Akira,” citing a need to retool the entire project. The order was for a “high-end” re-write, and the WB is looking no further than their superhero stable. While no one has yet received the offer to re-do the work of Steve Kloves and David James Kelly, Variety suggests the two most likely candidates are Jonah Nolan and Michael Green.
Nolan is no doubt the golden child of the WB’s tentpole factory, having co-written “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” with brother Chris. While the studio would ideally have the Nolans make all of their movies, Jonah has mostly stuck to his brother’s side after breaking through with the short story inspiration for “Memento.” Green, meanwhile, was a TV writer on “Smallville” (yikes), “Heroes” (ditto) and “Kings” (well, alright) before sharing the credit on “Green Lantern” (wait, ye gods!), and, allegedly, a sequel as well. It’s not all bad news from Green – he’s also got Steven Spielberg eyeing the script for “Gods And Kings” he penned with Stuart Hazeldine.
However, the most astounding thing about “Akira” so far, which has been in development for nearly a decade, is just how many writers have tackled this thing so far. Stephen Norrington (“Blade“), Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (“Iron Man“), Albert Torres (“Henry Poole Is Here“), Gary Whitta (“The Book Of Eli“) and few more we’re forgetting (totaling about a dozen) have all taken a stab at the would-be franchise at various points, in a big screen version that has wavered between a two-movie epic or a single movie throwdown.
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Variety doesn’t specify if the new scribes would be hired in an individual or team capacity, but a project like “Akira” is going to need all the help they can get. The problem areas for the project, which only has Garrett Hedlund signed to star thus far, are “character elements” and the film’s “look,” the latter of which can possibly be translated to “budget.” But the WB seems intent on reminding “Akira” that it’s still totally into him, insisting that the delays will not prevent the film from happening. It may not make much sense, film fans, but you’re getting an American “Akira,” whether you like it or not.