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Steve Kloves to Polish 'Akira' Script for Alan Hughes & Warner Bros

by
February 18, 2011
Source: Variety

Steve Kloves / Akira

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!

Akira Bike

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  • Loser
    Someone told me they were courting Taylor Lautner and Rain for this one and Olivia Wilde.
  • macca
    This is going to turn into a big mistake, Brad Pitt WTF.
    • Lamar
      Brad Pitt as Kaneda, yep, its official this project is in the hands of morons.
      • Marc McKenzie
        Yeah, but Lamar....no one is holding a gun to your head to see this. You DO know that you can still pick up the original classic film on DVD and it ain't just going to disappear, right? And the manga as well? A bit of advice--don't send your blood pressure into the atmosphere because of this film. Just don't see it, period.
  • Cracky
    This is destined to be a disaster. Cheers, everyone.
  • Andre
    Why would they cast brad pitt to play an teenage kid?
  • John
    Ah more nihilism, In the name of everything good, may this film never be made!
    • Marc McKenzie
      Sorry John, but it's moving ahead. You do have this choice though: DO NOT BOTHER WATCHING IT WHEN IT COMES OUT. Save your sanity and your health.
  • Dan W
    This is looking worse and worse. It has the possibility of becoming an amazing live action film(s) if done right. And I'm not feeling too good. After hearing the Hughes brothers were having a hand in it i was excited because The Book of Eli, though flawed at some points, was a visually and musically amazing movie. They have the chance of making the movie look and sound great, but it's not looking good so far.
  • Anonymous
    I have little faith in this adaptation. Kloves is a brilliant writer, but I foresee this falling apart.
  • If they want to make it as "epic" as possible, then they need to employ asian actors.
  • p86
    not really they already changed setting to Manhattan instead of Tokyo so casting Asians would be a bit redundant just get someone like Joseph Gordan Levitt for Kaneda
  • Loser
    casting asians would be cool the white man is gone and asians rule the world Manhattan has never been cooler
  • Kengomega
    WTF Brad Pitt? He is wayyyyy tooo old! Who makes movies these days?
  • IanKuah
    Every time news comes out about Akira on here I become more confused and upset, and since the first post I have been opposed. I don't know what to say anymore. This is just pathetic. I think I can accept now that the beautiful film that is Akira will be destroyed by this adaptation. It hurts to say, but I think it's true. I have lost all hope if this film actually gets made. I just don't understand why except greed. What ever happened to creating art?
    • Marc McKenzie
      No, AKIRA will not be destroyed by this, IanKuah. Wanna know why? First off, the original film isn't going to go "poof!" and disappear from your shelf. It'll still be there. So will the original manga--it ain't going anywhere. Second, this might make people look again at the original. You do know that it came out over twenty years ago and since then there has been an entire generation (or two) that has never heard of it or seen it, right? It's the sad truth. Third, and most important...don't see it when it comes out. Just ignore it and don't worry about it. I'm not defending this film, but you know what? I have no dogs in this hunt. If the studio wants to waste their money with this, that's their problem. No one is holding a gun to your head demanding that you see it. So I won't, and neither should you. And creating art still goes on. It's just very hard to do, and is often ignored. It ain't as easy as it looks. It doesn't spring forth like Athena from the head of Zeus.
      • RadioscopicNoggin
        You are defending these obviously and blatantly awful pre-production decisions quite passionately Marc... If you didn't have a dog in the race you wouldn't have commented, people are just expressing their feelings of disappointment, because some of us out there would actually like to see a live-action AKIRA done well.
        • Marc McKenzie
          Nah, Radio...I do not have any dogs in this hunt (hmmm....race, then?). It's just that, you know, why bother scream and yell over this? Don't see it, that's all. Also, I'm rather tired of the notion that if a live-action version of AKIRA comes out that it will invalidate the original classic. I pretty much made my points in the previous post. And if you do want to see a live-action version of AKIRA...then there's nothing wrong with that. I am pretty ambivalent about the whole thing myself, but it's just not worth screaming and yelling about how it'll be a disaster and how the world will end if a live-action version hits the theaters. I've pretty much had it with the uber-cynicism and moaning and groaning that seems to be standard now on the web. (Although, I suppose I am engaging in a bit of that myself. Pot, meet tea kettle!)
  • Moutchy
    The Brad Pitt thing has GOT to be a joke! Come on!
  • esophus
    Can't polish a turd.
  • Anonymous
    I second that vote for Joseph Gordan Levitt as Kaneda! He'd rock the part!
  • Lerryjee
    How about a an ethnically diverse cast of unknown people. You don't need typical Hollywood casting decisions to make this movie successful. In fact, big name stars will only turn off the source material's fan base.
  • Film Fan 84
    As long as Mr. Torres, Mr. Kloves and Mr. Hughes don't fuck things up and turn it into another catastrophe because Dragonball Evolution was bad enough.
  • Do we really Need a "Live Action" Remake of Akira??? C'mon Hollywood Enoughs enough already. Why not just say screw it & remake Star Wars? & spare us the wait, You're going to do it anyway.
  • Liquidjackal
    They need unknows for all the main roles and Brad Pitt, massive WTF! He's almost 50! They are suppose to be teenagers, jeez Hollywood! And the how non Japanese thing... fail.
  • Anonymous
    How the fuck is Brad Pitt supposed to pull off playing a teenage bike gang leader? I need to get my mitts on a copy of the script now, cause it sounds like they've got the thing royally screwed up. They've probably made Tetsuo his son or something equally stupid. Further, why the fuck would you NOT hire japanese people to play japanese characters? If you're not gonna change the names, then hire fucking asians. If you want american actors to play the characters, then change their names. It would seem that the character names are probably going to be the only god damn thing this film has in common with the books or animated film, tho, as it seriously sounds like these morons have gutted the story. As the MST3K bots would quip: "Hey, look! Middle-age teenagers!"
  • If they make the movie in Polish, most people won't won't to watch it because of the subtitles. Brad Pitt, muhahahahahhahahahaaaaaaa, who they going to get for Tetsuo? Tom Cruise?
  • Joe
    There is nothing being said about this film, since I first heard anything about it, that is making me feel like its a good idea. It just really shouldn't be done. This is NOT a good idea. I'm sure it would be a marvelous thing to watch this story played by people but its just not a good idea. This is bad. Not much good will come of this. Do not do this film. For some reason i don't think im making this clear enough. No Matter who writes, stars, produce, directs, scores, or funds this film, it should not exist.
  • Fox
    There's simply no way to "westernlize" Akira and still call it Akira, by changing the location from Neo Tokyo no Neo NY (it's just not the city, it's the whole japanese culture that will be absent!), by changing japanese characters to american ones, and so on... So why call it Akira? The fans of the old movie don't care for the new one, as long as the rumours go on, and the ones who have never heard of Akira will rush to the movies as they go with any Twilightish-movie. I understand that, if one doesn't care for a specific movie, it is forced to watch it, but for me, as it is, it's just a complete waste of money, talent and resources, in a total lack of vision and respect for the source material. Unless Hughes turn this shipwreck 180ยบ to safe port...

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