Like a grizzled old sea captain chasing a white whale, Warner Bros. are still doggedly pursuing the idea of a live-action remake of classic anime “Akira.” The 1988 original film, based on a manga, is seen as one of the absolute classics of the form, and the studio have been actively developing a remake since 2002, with Ruairi Robinson and Albert Hughes among the directors involved.
It got very close to production back in 2011, with “Non Stop” helmer Jaume Collet-Serra directing, a script by “Harry Potter” writer Steve Kloves, and Garret Hedlund, Ken Watanabe, Kristen Stewart and Helena Bonham Carter among the actors. But the movie fell apart, with a cautious Warners shutting down production at the beginning of 2012 (followed swiftly by public criticism of the approach from Toby Kebbell, one of the actors in the running for the film), before Collet-Serra was re-hired, and re-fired, more recently.
Still hungry for a franchise, the studio haven’t given up, and off the back of news that Marco J. Ramirez, showrunner of season 2 of “Daredevil,” had been hired to pen yet another draft, Den Of Geek bring new rumors that Warners have bigger plans than ever for the property, and are bringing in one of their biggest guns for some kind of role in production.
The site (who’ve been on the money with scoops recently) cite a source at the studio saying that the plan is currently for the property to be turned into a trilogy of movies (which amusingly echoes Kebbell’s advice a few years back: “if you really don’t want to do it, then why don’t you look at the six comics and just put two into each film… that’s the way to do it if you want to do sequels.”). And apparently WB staple Christopher Nolan “has met with a previously attached filmmaker (who we can’t name here) within the past three months to talk about the project.”
Before you get carried away and link this to last week’s news that Nolan’s latest movie is hitting theatesr in July 2017: it doesn’t sound like he’s directing “Akira.” For one, the site specify that he’s met with a filmmaker previously linked with the project (and specifically not Collet-Serra) — and while it’s possible that Albert Hughes is still involved, our bet is that Ruairi Robinson, who recently had the much-buzzed-about short “The Leviathan” get a lot of attention, and who was developing “Akira” back in the late 00s, is the man involved, though that’s just a hunch.
Nolan at this point is one of the few filmmakers who can still get big-budget original properties greenlit, and it’s almost certain that he’ll plough that particular furrow as long as he’ll be allowed to. But given his long relationship with the studio, the idea of him producing a new “Akira” series for a younger filmmaker like Robinson (or someone else entirely) is much more plausible, if Den Of Geek’s report is accurate. We’ll undoubtedly find out if there was any truth to this in the very near future.