Steve Kloves to Polish 'Akira' Script for Alan Hughes & Warner Bros
Warner Bros seems to be very concerned about making sure the upcoming live-action adaptation of Akira turns out as epic as it possibly can. In yesterday's story at Vulture about Mila Kunis joining Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great and Powerful (more on that here) they also mention that Akira, which is still only rumored to have James Franco on-board, might be in trouble at WB. One of the top execs, Jeff Robinov, tried to call Brad Pitt himself and convince him to play Kaneda - unsuccessfully. Presumably in response, Variety has published an update saying Harry Potter franchise writer Steve Kloves will "polish" the Akira script.
Kloves is the Oscar nominated writer of seven of the Harry Potter movies, from Sorcerer's Stone to both Deathly Hallows movies, but oddly not Order of the Phoenix. Variety only says that he's been "recruited to polish the studio's live-action remake of Japanese manga epic Akira" and adds nothing else about its status, casting or otherwise. The latest version of the script was written by Albert Torres (of Henry Poole Is Here), with earlier drafts by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby (Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens) and even Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli). As we already know, this will be directed by Albert Hughes, one half of the Hughes Brothers duo behind Menace II Society, From Hell and The Book of Eli most recently. Warner Bros has been trying for a long time to finally get this project off the ground, as it's supposed to be a hot project and I don't think they have the rights for too many years longer. This just sounds like another bump in the road and setback.
I'm not sure if this is a diversion from the news that Pitt passed and Warner Bros is now unsure of what to do with this, but it's interesting nonetheless. Kloves is a very talented screenwriter and has done incredible work on the Harry Potter franchise, which is a hell of a hard series to adapt to please fans and studio execs alike. Let's hope he can work miracles on this and make sure it's up to par, as that's going to help them get better actors, too. Maybe they can still convince Pitt? Vulture says that Hughes was able to convince WB to let him cast Mila Kunis as Kei, the young revolutionary with whom Kaneda becomes enamored on his quest to find his best friend. But, of course, that isn't confirmed by the studio. We'll continue to keep you updated!