Albert Hughes Talks About the Live-Action 'Akira' Being PG-13

June 23, 2010
Source: Film School Rejects

Hughes Brothers - Akira

It was announced in February that brothers Allen and Albert Hughes, who directed The Book of Eli and From Hell before that, had been hired by Warner Bros to direct their upcoming adaptation of the Japanese manga Akira. It took quite a while, but someone finally caught up with Albert Hughes (solo this time) and asked him about Akira and his plans for that project. The quotes come from an interview the Kevin & Josh Movie Show (found via Film School Rejects) had with Albert. He talks briefly about WB's "mandate" to make the movie PG-13 as well as its current status. It's not all good news but it's definitely not all bad news either.

It starts when they ask if he's "going to make Akira [rated] R, right?" His answer: "You would think… The first thing they said to me is that its got to be PG-13. I said, okay well I'll look at that as a challenge or a hindrance." That means instead of complaining, he's going to figure out where the boundaries are with the rating system so they can be edgy and still be PG-13. Hughes references The Dark Knight and says there are "subversive things" he can do to make it feel like an rated-R movie. "I like challenges," he adds. "The one thing about Akira, the manga, they've been around a couple of years doing the script… And it's a hard nut to crack because there's so many heavy themes." Which is was hoping that it would've been cracked by now.

As for his approach to it, well, this statement might upset fans: "The trick for me is to simply everything for the audience, because you can't come in with that complexity." That's all he said about its story, but I think he's just saying there's no way he can retain the complex themes of the manga, but will still try and keep the audience interested. The story is still being split in two, as Hughes confirms: "The first movie is going to be a two-part movie anyway." But, oddly, he might only direct the first movie. "Nah, I'm not into sequels, so I don't even know if I'm going to be around for the sequel," he says. "I'm going to focus on the first movie and get that right and they can talk about [that] later… I don't know if I would do [it] though."

Whoa, wait a minute. I understand there's no need to bring him back for a sequel, but if this is supposed to be a two-part movie telling one long story, shouldn't they use the same director for both? As for its status, Hughes says right now it's about "getting the script right" and creating a "look book," which involves tonally setting the way the movie looks and feels, from characters to vehicles. He'll then present that with the next draft of the script, which will be ready in September, then "we'll see where we're at." He doesn't sound too optimistic and I'm not either, but I'm still hoping for the best, because I really don't want to see a bad movie.

Speaking of writers, in a recent interview with producer Andrew Lazar, Collider learned that they've hired a new writer to work on the Akira screenplay - Albert Torres, whose only previously credit is the Luke Wilson indie Henry Poole Is Here, but he's also writing the feature version of the 2005 documentary Murderball. Other than that, we'll be waiting to hear more about Akira, including (hopefully) an update this September.

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I guess it's too early at the moment to guess if the movie is going to be [at least] faithful to the anime, of it's a complete waste of time of both the director's and the audience - it looks they don't have that much control about the movie, with that imposed PG13. I haven't see the Book of Eli so far, so I can't judge about Hughes work, but i'm sure they'll do the best they can. Maybe PG13 will be not so important, but I'll start to be worried if the script doesn't mention Tokyo at all, as I, personally, wouldn't like a westernization of that story - my 2 cents.

Fox on Jun 23, 2010


Great, They are ruining another great franchise. The language and graphic content in the manga (not the film) was a huge part of its success (at least in Japan). Remove that and you got your kiddy avatar type explosions CGI bullshit. The part where he says they are still not sure what to do about the story is the most scary. Get some japanese dude who understands the culture and the plot to direct this.

shige on Jun 23, 2010


Jesus this sounds like they're setting it up to be a horrible failure. I really wish Hughes wasn't doing this.

TW on Jun 23, 2010


Never had a stronger reaction while scrolling down First Showing. This is such heartbreaking news.

whomever on Jun 23, 2010


I really don't have high hopes for this movie after what the American's did to Dragonball that was a f**king catastrophe.

Carl on Jun 23, 2010


They will have to dumb it down so much that it won't be recognisable anyway. It should just be called Neo York and be done with.

Crapola on Jun 23, 2010


Fucking hell, why can't we just move away from this and leave Akira the hell alone? There's not a damn thing wrong with the current film adaptation, and making a live-action one will not add anything to it either, in my opinion. Sure, it could be cool, but i'm willing to sacrifice something cool if it will maintain the legacy that an original holds. I'm so tired of this happening. Some stories are meant to have an R-rating, and while I think some people might be able to get away with it as PG-13, I think those people are few and far between. Akira is complex, that's one thing that is so awesome about it. Hell, there's stuff about it that still boggles me, and I think dumbing it down is just, well, dumb. Get it together WB, I know I will cry if this great story gets fucked up.

Phi;l on Jun 23, 2010


kinda like how spawn was failure the moment they said it had to be pg-13?

Shyguy on Jun 23, 2010


God f*cking sh*t f*ckin dammit!

Linkfx on Jun 23, 2010


Well, right off the bat, one would think that making it PG-13 would make it not true to the book. <>

Voice of Reason on Jun 23, 2010


It's bad enough they're setting it in New Manhatten and stripping it of its Japanese origins, now this. Fuck Hollywood for even attempting to make this come to life.

graffiti bandit on Jun 23, 2010


fuck that

megalodon on Jun 23, 2010


epic fucking fail. why do they think they can do shit like this and get away with it.

lego on Jun 23, 2010


PG-13!? No sir! I won't be Akira without people exploding all bloody and stuff. The Hughes Brother's are talented and all; the Book of Eli was visually amazing and the actions scenes (3 or 4, all under 30 seconds long) were pretty good, but I'm not sure they can really capture the epicness of Akira. In my opinion they should have gotten Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) because he can make really good big budget films and still keep the story on really deep characters.

lamar on Jun 23, 2010


Everything I've heard about the live action remake of this film so far makes me want to rip my hair out and this is no different. American based? American characters? PG-13? Sequels? When will Hollywood get the point and stop doing stuff like this? (I know...never)

Jeep Fu on Jun 23, 2010


fuck this movie if its going to be pg 13 that is just gay.

sickdoghats on Jun 23, 2010



TheLOLrapist on Jun 23, 2010


The only hard PG-13 I can think of was kingpin and it got away with it because it was a comedy. Akira is NOT a kids movie. It was a supposed to be gory, unsettling & tragic. That said, I like the Hughes Bros & I hope they can turn this chicken Sh*t into something that looks like chicken salad.

Neva Evah on Jun 23, 2010


I'd rather watch a youtube re-enactment of akira using legos.

Lerryjee on Jun 23, 2010


This sounds fucked from the start. I mean, the director not being in complete control (meaning Hollywood is going to screw it up), a two parter that the director(s) won't stick with, and PG-fucking-13? Let's hope this fails as fast as the Battle Royale adaptation attempt.

Gex on Jun 23, 2010


Even if this was filmed exactly with an "R" it would have been watchmen 2.0. A film for fans of the source material only. This pg-13 abortion is railroading fans of the original. F*CK THIS.

fracking really???? on Jun 23, 2010


Yeah I'm out, Akira being rated PG-13 is just fucking sad. I wanted to give them a chance, but this article is a slap in the face, a puch in the gut, and a kick in the balls. Fire them and get a director who is willing to go all the way. Hell I'd be okay with James Cameron and his freaky deaky 3-D then a PG-13, no soul having, wannabe adaptaion, that is not too complex because the audience can't handle any complexities. Please rethink this Hughes. Hopefully Allen Hughes will change his mind, 'cause Albert is fucking insane if he thinks this sounds good at all. Hey America had nothing to do with the failure that was Dragonball, it was the lazy ass director named...James Wong and a piss poor writer named Ben Ramsey.

Xerxex on Jun 23, 2010


Yeah I'm out, Akira being rated PG-13 is just fucking sad. I wanted to give them a chance, but this article is a slap in the face, a puch in the gut, and a kick in the balls. Fire them and get a director who is willing to go all the way. Hell I'd be okay with James Cameron and his freaky deaky 3-D then a PG-13, no soul having, wannabe adaptaion, that is not too complex because the audience can't handle any complexities. Please rethink this Hughes. Hopefully Allen Hughes will change his mind, 'cause Albert is fucking insane if he thinks this sounds good at all. Hey America had nothing to do with the failure that was Dragonball, it was the lazy ass director named...James Wong and a piss poor writer named Ben Ramsey.

Xerxex on Jun 23, 2010


What they're doing to Akira is a motherfucking travesty. This is the one adaptation that I hope fails before it gets off the ground. How the hell is this not going to be set in JAPAN!?!?! Lemme guess - the Twilight kids as Kaneda and Tetsuo? Why not, since they're clearly only doing this for the money.

Red Eye on Jun 23, 2010


HAHAHAHA Remember what they did to Watchmen? well now hollywood's gonna do it to AKIRA, one of the greatest anime's ever made. It is gonna be in NYC with a bunch of white people, bc asians are too lowly to star in american movies. CANT FUCKING WAIT, this is gonna be like watching a 2 hour car crash

KP on Jun 23, 2010


FUCK YOU HOLLYWOOD! I don't care what kind of bullshit you spew, there is ABSOLUTELY no way to do Akira properly without violence and blood. I knew this shit was gonna happen, next thing we know all the characters will be white, set in NYC, and a totally different plotline.

JTMoney on Jun 23, 2010


Oh and the Book of Eli was a horrible propaganda film. So much so, that I wish I could have gotten the two hours of my life I wasted watching that abortion of a flick. Now those asshats have gotten ahold of my beloved film.

JTMoney on Jun 23, 2010


pg-13?????????? lololol Next up BERSERK live action movie... rated PG-13.....

filmfan111 on Jun 23, 2010


I finally just warmed up to him being the director, but for anyone who has read the books knows that it had alot of gory shock value. It gave the book an intense feeling of the all powerful Tetsuo. To drop the gore would be a shame.

Gill on Jun 23, 2010


If they make it, they better not cast a white actor.... thats all i'm saying... Yellowface needs to stop. who's gonna go watch a movie where the main character's name is Akira Tetsuo, and he's white.... Fuck hollywood.

Roderick on Jun 23, 2010


Hughes shouldn't dare suggesting how he can pull off Akira as PG-13 because The Dark Knight made PG-13 feel R. He is no Christopher Nolan. They are no Christopher Nolans. Why don't the owners of the rights to these stories dictate such important story elements?

Ostilad on Jun 24, 2010


As disturbing as this news is, I won't lose any sleep over it... sounds like a total clusterfuck behind the scenes, with nobody agreeing on anything. The budget will start running up and WB will get cold feet and pull out. We've been down this road before. This is one of those instances where the source material is so much greater than these dim bastards trying to rip it off for financial gain. Watch the project implode.

Jeff on Jun 24, 2010


way to fuck up another great story!! its obviously not up the the brothers to decide what rating this gets but theres no way that A) The manga could be faithfully done in a two hour span B) You could keep the intensity and complexity of the original manga in a pg-13 rating (Teen pregnancy, violence, drugs, govt corruption, etc = come to think of it, its all crap thats on Mtv anyway! SOMEONE needs to have the balls to start making MINI SERIES'!!!!! out of classic graphic novels! Why condense them into 2 hour popcorn bullshit and not treat them like the serious literary classics that they are????? Battlestar galactica miniseries rocked! Band of brothers, Spartacus, etc..WHY NOT COMICS?? especially those with a more epic sense of story telling? Could you imagine if someone had the balls to do a Watchmen 12 episode series???? Complete with Narrated pieces from "under the hood" and "Black Freighter"? If the audience is too stupid to get it then TOO BAD!!! Why dumb down such great works for a short attention span crowd? There is no short version of "gone with the wind" or "Seven Samurai" WHY??? because they were treated with the respect that they deserved! Now someone needs to take that long and serious approach with graphic novel treatment!! Respect the work that went into the story crafting, respect the audience that made these works worth buying by lame ass fast buck hollywood, and in turn make all the money you want! run it on cable and you will have tons of fans subscribing for that month not to mention all the people buying not one dvd but collected editions! Im scared $hitless for the Ghost in the SHell adaptation...

lando is a system not a man on Jun 24, 2010


on second thought, I have my box of akira #1 - 32 right here so go ahead and make a horrible live action movie, I'll just open page one start from there and laugh at how stupid the execs were and how they will never be able to do a classic graphic story justice. I'll keep reading my books thanks.

lando is a system not a man on Jun 24, 2010


I recall this movie messing my shit up pretty bad when I first saw it. Strangely grossed out, amused and confused all at the same time. Perhaps I owe myself another viewing. That creepy teddy bear shit still haunts me though. The Hughes brothers are inconsistent at best, but they do crank out some decent stuff They're not all home runs, but do have a style. If they can avoid the PG13 rating (which it doesn't look like they can) then you might have something, but if not, just another rebootamakening that Hollywood is going to fuck up.

DLM Entertainment on Jun 24, 2010


This movie needs to be R

Duck on Jun 24, 2010


....sigh on Jun 24, 2010


FAIL, FAIL, FAIL, FAIL, FAIL, BOYCOTT PG-13 Hollywood crap! There just laughing at you!

D on Jun 24, 2010


Everything about this sounds terrible. God please kill this movie.

Johnnie Walker on Jun 24, 2010


So, wait... in Feb. they said that they want to do 2 movies out of respect for the source material. But now they say it has to be PG-13? How the hell is that respect for the source material? WTF WB?

DRH on Jun 24, 2010


fuck this movie

odi on Jun 24, 2010


Nope. This seems to be going down the wrong track FAST. Shame is that on top of neutering what could have been a really good film, they're passing up the opportunity to use Tokyo as a setting which is way better than shooting in New York AGAIN......and which probably means that there will be no Japanese people and that Akira's name might be changed to Aaron Tenison or something like that. I'll just stick with the manga and the anime movie. And @ #20, Battle Royale has an adaptation already, it was made in Japan.

Hey Wowza on Jun 26, 2010


To say the least, the Hughes bros are going to have a hard time capturing the grungy unsensored side of the Akira series while keeping the film PG-13.

skydude on Jun 26, 2010


I agree with whoever said that this should be a miniseries. Thats the only thing short of divine intervention that will keep a live action version from being a box office farce.

skydude on Jun 26, 2010


FUCK HOLLYWOOD< FUCK WARNER FUCK HUGHES book of eli was a retarded piece of bible humping fairy tale shit the writing and directing was shit and guess what, both the directors and writer from that will make this. add to that the pg-13 rating=warner wants kids to see this to make money off it prolly cuz they don't think adults will watch a manga/anime live adaptation because they believe fans of those mediums/genres to be kids and a project they won't take seriously lol i love this quote: "The trick for me is to [sic] simply everything for the audience, because you can't come in with that complexity." nope, gotta make it as accessible as possible, because average movie goer joe facefuck won't like anything too complex. well you know what, why don't you just not touch it if it's too complex, ever think of that hollywood? jesusfuck, leave Akira alone, it doesn't need a live action remake, none of the anime or manga does. it usually ends up paling in comparison to the original. what is the reason to remake it? for fuck's sake. i mean really? ghost in the shell, akira, and even EVA? make your own stories stop copying others'. assholes don't even deserve to touch it. and i swear if I find out katsuhiro otomo is behind letting them use these rights and and not some company i'm going to lose most of my respect for him. let's hope he still has creative controll and has to sign off on the script [the way neil gaiman is doing to make sure they don't release a turd, and they've already failed him with about 4 shit scripts, so it's obvious there's no need to remake it] READ THE MANGA< WATCH THE MOVIE AND FUCK THIS 'live action' remake trendy shit.

vars on Aug 27, 2010


I wait 20 years for a live action remake of Akira for some clueless suit to hand it to these two. Fuck my life.

On Akira's Nutz on Oct 15, 2010


This movie is gonna suck hard you ask....Michael Bay Hard. These are the last two douchenozzles I would hand this project to.

Bob on Jan 13, 2011


Wow, everyone involved in this idea should be humiliated in front of their family and friends. This HAS to be the hand of Satan.

Treetopcanoe on Jan 21, 2011


This is so bad.. and they keep doing it. Manga/Anime cannot be translated. Period! After "The Lord of The Rings" Hollywood thinks they can adapt everything from a book. Dragonball failed horrible (Also 20th C.Fox). They alway have to 'Americanize' it, white actors n settings. It reminds me of how fail Resident Evil was (Also japanese orgin). I feel bad for the upcoming Bleach movie, THAT will unleash another big debate.

Maluku85 on Jun 8, 2011


They will fail if they do this! Any attempt to make this by not using the graphic novel's creator as your main writer and giving it a PG-13 rating!? What a joke!  Some suit in Hollywood heard from someone about how Akira is a main manga thought it'd get him a promotion to try and do a throw-away movie on it! If they did it right they'd do it using a Japanese director, actors, writer,neo Tokyo, etc..... They will fail!

Daftpunky on Dec 23, 2011

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