Live-Action Akira Project Still Alive, Fergus & Ostby Writing

September 7, 2009
Source: Collider


Tetsuo is back! Way back in June, it was reported by Bloody-Disgusting that the live-action Akira project Warner Brothers was developing was apparently as "dead as a doornail." Some fans thought it was good news, others thought it was bad news (latter for me). After we posted that, I heard that apparently it wasn't true, and that a couple of big name screenwriters were actually working on a new draft of the script, because WB had paid a lot for the rights and wasn't going to let it die. Collider now confirms that Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, the guys previously who wrote Children of Men and Iron Man, have been working on Akira.

Collider says that Fergus and Ostby are "about to turn in their version of an Akira movie" and have been "hard at work trying to get the script right." As for the story, apparently it's still set in a post-apocalyptic "New Manhattan" (as opposed to Tokyo in the anime), as was originally announced in 2008, and will include the iconic motorcycle (seen above). This is still a priority for the studio and if Fergus and Ostby's script gets approval from the higher ups, it could go into production in 2010 for release in 2011. Though there still isn't a director attached, since WB ditched the inexperienced Ruairi Robinson a while back.

Even being a big fan of the original anime, I'm still very excited to one day see this. Word is that it may get a huge budget, which I think is the first step in the right direction, considering they really need to make this pretty epic to live up to the anime. Now if Fergus and Ostby's script turns out pretty great, they just need to find a director who can take all their writing and turn it into an excellent movie. Anyone still excited?

Find more posts: Hype, Movie News, Opinions



first and yes sounds badass

J on Sep 7, 2009


If Fergus and Ostby can bring in the action from Ironman, and the drama of Children of Men then I have hopes that Akira will succeed in actually becoming a good adaptation. Children of Men was great, and Ironman was awesome. I'm now rooting for this and will love to see what these two can do with the awesomeness that is Akira, Oh and they better do justice to the Motorcycle and the laser weapon, used by Kaneda when he attacks Tetsuo. Actually that brings about one question...the names Kaneda, Tetsuo, Colonel Shikishima, Kei, Kaori, and The Espers these are the most important names, are they gonna change them? I hope not! and if they do I wonder, what they will become? Better not be any Bills, Joes, Ted, Wills, and Steves running around! no offense to those who are named Bill, Joe, Ted, Will and Steve.

Xerxex on Sep 7, 2009


still hope JGL is still considered he cant still pass off as a young kid

nelson on Sep 7, 2009


I love the original Akira movie and as much as I'd love to see a good live version, I am getting a negative vibe that this is gonna suck. At least the writers they got seem pretty good, but my main gripe is Neo Manhattan. Does every movie have to be set in New York...or L.A.? Why can't they just use Neo Tokyo and stick close to the original? "Well I would go see Akira, but it's set in Japan...YUCK, FOREIGNERS!" At lest use a different city than Neo Manhattan. That's been done to death! If you're gonna set it in America, how about Neo Chicago, Neo St. Louis, Neo Denver, Neo Detroit, or Neo New Orleans?

bracomadar on Sep 7, 2009


#4 Kingpin was made black and the character was still true to the source material land done justice my point is as long as the story/themes/characters/ are done well the setting should be just fine

nelson on Sep 7, 2009


SHIT! lol

Big Boss on Sep 7, 2009


This would be a great project for NEIL BLOMKAMP.

TTEX on Sep 8, 2009


Neo-Manhattan? Oh shit....I smell another Dragonball: Evolution in the works. Akira is part of my childhood and I'm sick and tired of Hollywood fucking up my childhood just to make a buck. Keep all "Americanization" out of this story. It's too good for that. How are they going to call Akira, Akira if its based in "Neo-Manhattan"? *gag* A youg white kid named Akira? Give me a break? Tetsuo=Tom? Kaneda=Ken? No sir, I don't like it. Are the writers even going to talk to Katsuhiro Otomo? Are they going to bring him in on the writing process? Are they going to get script approval from him? For some reason I doubt it... And if the budget isn't in the hundreds of millions of dollars the special effects that this movie will need are going to suck. The last 20 minutes (like the anime at least) will HAVE to rock everyone's world. No sir...I'm not looking forward to this (most likely) train wreck.

Jeep-Fu on Sep 8, 2009


I agree with #8. Also, from my experiences with trying to get my friends to appreciate anime, its not just the fact that its animated that turns them off, but its the culture and the way the story lines are told through anime and the actual connotations themselves. I still don't believe anime will translate well to live action, due to this fact, because it IS an acquired taste. They'd have to change ALOT about Akira to make it a successful mainstream movie.

Crystal on Sep 8, 2009


Alex, surely you mean the original Manga, as it was a comic book way before it got made into an animation... Oh yeah, I forgot, you don't read much.

Wottock Hunt on Sep 8, 2009


I remember hearing one of the producers saying that the live Action Akira was going to be like City of God meets Bladerunner....That really got me psyched and made be believe that this project might do fair justice to one of the best anime movies ever made! But you guys have raised some real valid concerns about this whole Neo-Manhattan idea. The writers better write the best script of their lives to make that work. It'll be sad if Hollywood makes rubbish out of Akira like they did with Dragon Ball. They should get the Wachowski Bros to direct. Does guys know their anime 4sure, or as #7 mentioned Neil Blomkamp will be awesome for this too!

Chidi on Sep 8, 2009


Also agree with #8... this is a nice little corner of my youth that doesn't need to be highlighted in florescent blue, thanks.

dRailer on Sep 8, 2009


'New Manhattan' is a new comedy buzzword. Not set in Tokyo is a mistake. Not really excited in any way.

Crapola on Sep 8, 2009


Well Well, from the production company of Leonardo DiCaprio's 'Appian Way' comes a live action adaption of one of legendary anime, AKIRA. Now why are the writers coming up with their own shit, while the original will always stay original? E.G - WANTED, this was same as the "original" script. Now for the Director, who can do justice? As the trailers for 'Ninja Assassin' looks promising, perhaps get James McTeigue???!!! Does he know his anime?? Also in the making NINJA SCROLL

Fearl3ss on Sep 8, 2009


#10 says, "City of God meets Blade Runner" Whoa. That would be beyond epic.

Cody on Sep 8, 2009


Can't wait. As for the haters - base on what I read from anime/manga forums: nothing new. Die-hard anime fans are the hardest to please. But they do pointed out a good question, the one thing anime/manga are fun for western readers is that the Japanese names has some "cool" factor to it - will the writers stick to it? But really I can't wait

somwerbtwnblungrn on Sep 8, 2009


I'll keep this short and simple. No. #15, spot on. You can't even keep the names then you probably won't keep to anything else. That's the problem.

Tra la la la la di da on Sep 8, 2009


Honestly, I don't think it's a matter of "knowing your anime"...most Akira worshipers would agree that the film stood out from the crowd for a million different reasons, most of them subtle. And those are the things they need to get right. Here's my summary of Akira's core: A story about people of a world that's bigger than you, realizing that their world is bigger than them. It's about sibling rivalry, the breakdown of society, playing with god's fire and getting burned. If the writers/director can get that stuff right, it could take place in Neo-Istanbul for all I care.

André on Sep 8, 2009


#13 Fearl3ss James McTeigue know his anime he even said in a interview at that Ninja Assassin is influence by Ninja Scroll and Samurai Champloo. #8 Jeep-Fu i agree with you Jeep-Fu. a young white kid named Akira is a freaking joke check this video out this is what an American Akira would turn out to be LOL The American Akira (Coming 2011)

tazz on Sep 8, 2009


Kaneda and Tetsuo are going to be Caucasian... *rolls eyes* great...

sean on Sep 8, 2009


i'm a huge anime fan (check my user name it's charactor from naruto shippuden, akatsuki member to be exact.)akira was the very first anime i brought back late 80s early 90s on vhs would be crime to the original source material(manga & anime) that it's set in neo manhatten,so personally I don't think it should be made unless it's got a japanese cast & director.just look how bad speed racer,dragon ball z & fist of the northstar movies are.please don't make this film.

zetsu on Sep 8, 2009


@8 F-king up your childhood? Lol get a grip dude, your childhood is still there. Don't watch the movie if you don't want it 'fucking up my childhood.' Haha some people.

Ravster on Sep 8, 2009


The fact this is being penned by the same guys behind 2 movies that were really fantastically good makes me feel better about this....almost. I'd rather they create another original work instead of screwing with one of the best anime films of all time into some bastardized live version that will probably only have 1/10th of the stories complexity because general film audiences are idiots

Breach on Sep 8, 2009


i hate when Hollywood do live action movie of popular Japanese Anime then they Americanize them and fuck it up big time it has been proven all the time. - Fist of The North Star - Guyver and Guyver Dark Hero - Speed Racer - DragonBall: Evolution the only thing that is close to a good live action movie of anime/manga is the Matrix movies. the reason is that the Matrix is influences by Ghost in the Shell, but the Matrix is Hollywood own original live action movie that is influences by anime/manga. even the up and coming Ninja Assassin is influence by Ninja Scroll and Samurai Champloo. whats funny the two films that i mention the Matrix Trilogy and Ninja Assassin all been director or produce by Wachowski brothers and James McTeigue. the best opinion is if they make they own original film that has some influence from Akira then that most likely will work as a movie. but since they want to make film adaptation of Akira they most likely will fuck it up big time just the same way they did recently with Dragonball.

blaze on Sep 8, 2009


why are you people bitching about Americanization if i wanted to see it exactly like it is i would just watch the damn movie. I want something the same but also different staying true to the material and themes but also a new take on it i see ntohing wrong with that. and also JGL was rumored for a role in this

nelson on Sep 8, 2009


Neo-Manhattan. Fuck a New Manhattan.

whomever on Sep 8, 2009


#25 people are bitching cause they going to change the source material big time Kaneda and Tetsuo will not be played by a Asian or even an Asian-American actor but a Caucasian actor. whos going to buy into Kaneda and Tetsuo been Caucasian. plus Hollywood has a history in Americanize Japanese Manga and fuck it up look what happen with DragonBall: Evolution

leo on Sep 8, 2009


I hope Robinson does some other movie,Silent city is my favouritr short film.Blomkamp would be great for this too.

TIR NAN NOG on Sep 8, 2009


They should have learnt from the Dragonshite... sorry I mean the Dragonball movie. It you don't stick to the original story it is gonna be utterly shit and a mega dissapointment in the box office therefore New Manhattan = BIG mistake.

Carl on Sep 8, 2009


Allright, I can see as to why alot of you are so apprehensive about this film being made into live action. Granted, Hollywood has not been kind when doing live action anime adaptations (Dragon Ball Evolution, need I say anymore?). But just LOOK AT WHO IS WRITING THE SCRIPT for the movie. Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby have written CHILDREN OF MEN (look at that and tell me that's not post apocalyptic material, i dare you to) and IRON MAN (a highly successful box office hit). I think that too many of you are focused upon the whole Neo Manhattan thing, but the article said NOTHING OF NEO MANHATTAN. As far as we know, the new screen writers might not even keep the same concepts that the previous screenwriter (Gary Whitta) had in the original script.

Julian on Sep 8, 2009


Ummm............#30 can't you read dammit? It says As for the story, apparently it's still set in a post-apocalyptic "New Manhattan" (as opposed to Tokyo in the anime)...Next time try to read the article carefully please. Oh yeah...aside from that I agree with you about the whole screewriters thing. Children of Men (an oscar worthy film) and Iron Man were truly entertaining films. If they can keep the whole future is bleak thing like they did with children of men, then this film will kick some ass!!!

Joshua on Sep 8, 2009


If we can have those awesome long shots (a la Children of Men) mixed with some motocyle action plus psychic powers, then I'm there in the theaters.

Artsy Boi on Sep 8, 2009


To be honest, I read the manga first and, exciting and brilliant as the anime was, it never lived up to the epic nature of the books. I don't want to see a live-action Akira film, I want to see at least THREE live-action Akira films. The original missed so much out of the plot, seriously epic stuff, and not just plot but amazing situations which would look utterly incredible with a decent FX budget. I know there is a current vogue for throwing american super-carriers around the screen (TF2 and 2012, at least) but the Akira manga did it first! And multiple firings of the satellite laser! And the huge explosions caused by Akira! And the manifestations of Tetsuo's powers! The anime did some stuff with it, but on it's own the film din't make a huge amount of sense, because there was no way enough time for it. Give me an Akira trilogy, done properly, and you will have the Sci-Fi Lord of the Rings.

NormStar on Sep 8, 2009


#19 (tazz): Yes...I saw that before...I don't think it's going to be THAT bad...but if this goes like it think it will, that skit will be popping up in my head quite often during the movie. *sigh* #22 (ravster): Why not just tell a Star Wars fan not to watch the prequels if they don't want them messing up their childhood? It won't matter...the movie will still be there. Every time I'd watch the anime or read the manga I'd think of the live action...just like every time someone mentions Star Wars your mind will drift to "midichlorians" and "jar jar". If there is any doubt that you can't live up to the anime or manga they shouldn't make it. #33 (normstar): I could go with that. But I think (as of right now at least) they don't want to do give this the scale that it deserves and they want to change everything to make it more appealing to American audiences. (Plus WB would never do something on the scale of LotR, too risky for them.) "Here's slap a big American flag on it and make it 90 minutes long and the movie will be excellent." won't...

Jeep-Fu on Sep 8, 2009


to be honest, I thought the anime was great, but it didnt do the manga full justice! It was like a small condensed piece of the whole akira a live action akira in New York..with toms and steves running around...I just dont know about this.. what made this so great was that it was foreign and original and imaginative, not made for a short attention span crowd...

Lando on Sep 8, 2009


Not set in Japan anymore, set America. Bad idea. They shouldnt call it Akira anymore. thats still to Japanese. they should call it "Bob". Bob the kid with super mind powers. then they dont ride Motorcycles anymore they ride vespa scooters becouse they want it to be more eco-friendly. Bah! Americanizing everything is a sure way to alienate all the true fans

D on Sep 8, 2009


D really? We don't ride vespa's. And most of the American users would like it to stay in the original medium, I'd be content with watching it with english subtitles.

Xerxex on Sep 8, 2009


Jeez...this will suck unless they dump $200million in the film, shoot it in (neo) tokyo, all asian cast keep the original music(brilliant) and have a strong R rating. Damnitttt!!! Why do I (WE?) have to get crappy news everytime we go to this site??? Several questions remain, are they remaking the anime or the comic books? Actually a (big?)difference there if I recall correctly, alot more drugs in the comics for one. Any word from Japan about this? Any mass-suicide yet? And why cannot it be made in Japan by a Japaneese filmstudio/company??

David Banner on Sep 8, 2009


City of God meets Blade Runner??? I can get behind that!!! But..GOD PLEASE DONT LET the Wachowski Bros anywhere near this project!!!! that will make this movies sucking official!

Lando on Sep 9, 2009


I have the original anime movie, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the live-action adaption offers. The best advice I can give to those who complain is to stay away from the source of the irritation. I am in no way trying to start any crap or deny anyone here their right to complain, but if youre going to get so worked up as to mope about things as petty as such-and-such a character being played by a Caucasian, or whinge that the original material is forever destroyed, you're better off keeping your distance. On that note, I actually liked Dragonball Evolution, and felt that it was one of the higher points of my cinematic year along with the new Star Trek movie. I acknowledge that DBE could've been put together better than it was, but I still had fun with it. Considering that I have also seen and disliked X-Men Origins and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, the fact that I enjoyed DBE *REALLY* says something.

soul_reaver265 on Sep 9, 2009


I'm with #8 on this one. As with most American remakes of foreign source material, sooo much is lost in the translation and dumbed down. It's kinda tiring to continuously see America crossing their arms for special 'Americanized' treatment of a story. I'd really love to see an Akira film done with an Asian cast. Sort of like the live action Blood: The Last Vampire (...only good). I do see this turning into another Dragonball Evolution fiasco though...

Gone on Sep 9, 2009


#34 Jeep-Fu Latinoreview mention that Tetsuo will be renamed to Travis WTF

Tazz on Sep 9, 2009


Well it seems they've got a good writing team judging by their credentials. I'm trusting that they'll take this various serious considering what a cult hit this is and the fans that truly love it (I being one of those fans). Just gotta wait to hear more about it.

Superhaus on Sep 9, 2009


Put this movie in 3D!! I love 3D movies and the tron cycles will be insanely cool, and akira cycles would probably be cooler. Especially if they got the scene where tetsuo smacks that other biker in the face with a pipe. Frankly, I don't understand how people could care about the setting of this movie. Well I guess that the themes in this movie really out shined the setting. I think that the culture isn't very japanese at all. The degenerative culture reminds me of any large city. I'm sold I'll pay my 10 bucks to see this. I'll even pay more for 3D.

Meatcarnage on Sep 10, 2009


#42: *sigh* *thumps head against wall*

Jeep-Fu on Sep 10, 2009


I find it hilarious that people are bitching about the fact that it's not in Tokyo. If you honestly believe that the setting is what makes Akira so memorable, then I don't think you truly understand what makes Akira an amazing film/manga. As #44 stated, Neo-Tokyo didn't really have a particularly japanese look. It looked like any old apocalyptic city you'd find in a film. Neo-Manhattan will be fine. Weaboos, for once in your fucking lives, use some goddamn common sense. It's an American film, made by american writers, made for an American audience. OF COURSE THE GODDAMN FILM IS GOING TO HAVE MORE OF A WESTERN INFLUENCE. I"m actually interested in seeing how this plays out, especially since they're not going to try to cram everything into one film (something the animated film is guilty of doing) and that they have some pretty damn good writers aboard. People have plenty of reasons to be optimistic for this adaptation. Frankly, I'm just fucking tired of this, "HURRR DURRRR IF IT'S NOT ASIAN THEN IT'S GOING TO SUCK," mentality most weaboos have as if the skin color is so goddamn important the overall story. (and in a way that's a pretty racist way of thinking anyways) Guess what, it's not. All of Akira's themes can be placed in a number of settings. Tetsuo's or Kaneada's skin color has nothing to do with their personalities. Do you want to know why I love Akira? It has nothing to do with the fact that the characters are asian, or that it takes place in Japan. It has to do with the fact that Akira is a well-crafted story, with memorable characters, and one of the few cartoons (both japanese and western) that I can say is for a mature audience. If you can't understand that, then you're just another weaboo who only likes Akira because it's Japanese or whatever. Basically you're a fucking tool. And yes I'm well aware that I could be wrong, however I do have alot of optimism for this one.

SkaOreo on Sep 16, 2009


#32 - Artsy Boi LOL! You're retarded! You think that writers are the one's responisble for the tracking shots in Children of Men? LOL!

SlashBeast on Sep 27, 2009


#32 - Artsy Boi LOL! You're a cumface! You think that WRITERS are responsible for the tracking shots from Children of Men? LOL! What a dickface!

SlashBeast on Sep 27, 2009


#32 - Artsy Boi LOL! You're a dicklick! You think that WRITERS are responsible for the tracking shots in Children of Men? LOL!

Governor on Sep 27, 2009


"This would be a great project for NEIL BLOMKAMP." i seconded that !

Max on Oct 23, 2009

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