Cue fanboy panic! While devoted anime heads likely breathed a sign of relief when Warner Bros. kiboshed plans for a live action remake of “Akira” in early 2012, the project never really disappeared. Within days of that announcement, word circulated that they were looking at a new screenwriter and it looks like whatever reservations they had last time out have disappeared, as they are bringing the gang back together for another crack at the project.
Variety reports that director Jaume Collet-Serra, who was going to helm the previous incarnation before it was halted, is back on board to direct. And it seems the entire vision is staying the same. While WB apparently toyed with a lower budgeted version of the movie, eyeballing “Catfish” dudes Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to direct (good lord), they wisely came to their senses and returned to Collet-Serra’s take which they are “still in love” with. So what’s that take?
Well, it relocates the action to New Manhattan, and the adaptation draws from books 1-3 of the manga. Back during the previous attempt at mounting the project, the studio struggled to lock down a cast. A frankly ridiculous amount of names—Kristen Stewart, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe, Helena Bonham-Carter, Paul Dano, Michael Pitt, Toby Kebbell, Ezra Miller, D.J. Cotrona, Logan Marshall-Green, Rami Malek, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy—were all tossed around/wishlisted/considered for parts, but nothing wound up solidifying, aside from Garrett Hedlund, long attached to star. Whether they’ll go back to that pool or not remains to be seen, but they want this one lined up soon.
As Collet-Serra gears up to shoot his next picture, the Liam Neeson thingy “Run All Night,” WB is hoping that by spring 2014 the director will be ready to go on “Akira.” So does this mean that WB is aiming to drop this movie into the already ridiculously logjammed calendar of 2015? We’ll have to see. No word yet on who retooled the script if anybody, but it seems the plan is to stick to whatever they had brewing before. So sorry anime fans, get ready to be frustrated all over again.