WB's 'Akira' Movie is Back From the Dead with Jaume Collet-Serra
It's back! But is that good thing? We've been following development on Warner Bros' live-action adaptation of the manga/anime Akira for what seems like all seven years this website has been in operation (our first post ever on an Akira "remake" was in in late 2007). Throughout 2011, we covered news on a version that came close to shooting with director Jaume Collet-Serra at the helm, and Garrett Hedlund about to star. But production shut down in early 2012 and we thought this was all but dead - at least until they wanted to take another shot at it. So here we are again, and WB wants Collet-Serra back with an even smaller budget.
The updated report comes from Variety, where they claim that Warner Bros is back at it and has decided to bring Jaume Collet-Serra back "in discussions" to direct. At the time, he had just released Unknown and decided to move on to another project instead of waiting. So Collet-Serra went and filmed Non-Stop starring Liam Neeson, and even lined up another film, Run All Night with Neeson again, to follow-up that one. They now say that Collet-Serra is set to start shooting Run All Night this fall and will likely be convinced to shoot the Akira movie in early 2014, after returning with "a new way to approach the adaptation that would meet the studio’s budget request." The budget started over $100 million, then was pushed to $90M during the 2011 development phase, and will get even lower though "it is unknown what the new budget [will] be."
When Akira was originally set to be adapted by DiCaprio's company Appian Way, WB had only secured the rights for a limited amount of time. Hence all the buzz about the adaptation over these last few years and the fact that it's starting up again. Variety says after Collet-Serra left in 2012, WB pursued other directors like Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman of Catfish, but "ultimately, the studio was still in love with Collet-Serra's vision." Now they want him back and want to get this going, with another revision on the budget. Appian Way's Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are still producing along with Andrew Lazar, plus Katsuhiro Otomo, who wrote/directed the iconic 1988 anime film, is still involved as an executive producer.
Aside from that update, we'll have to keep waiting to see if they finally pull this project together this time. Adapting Akira is (or at least should be) an ambitious undertaking, which is why all of this debate and news about shrinking budgets is more of a cause for concern than any excitement. As always, we'll keep an eye out for the latest updates on this movie. Until then, there's still plenty of time to watch the original Akira anime.