Director Taika Waititi is eager to make a live-action version of Japanese graphic novel Akira featuring an all-Asian cast.
The filmmaker behind the new Thor: Ragnarok blockbuster recently entered talks to tackle the long-gestating Akira adaptation, and although he has not revealed whether he plans to sign on for the task, he has some very clear ideas about how he would approach the movie, about two telekinetic brothers in rival biker gangs in a post-apocalyptic metropolis.
Explaining how he would prefer to stay true to the original manga material instead of the 1988 anime film version, he told IGN.com, “I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books…”
Casting directors had previously recruited Garett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart to take on lead roles in the big screen adaptation of Akira back in 2011, before that production fell apart, but if Waititi does agree to take charge of the live-action shoot, he won’t be whitewashing the characters – and he would rather his stars be Hollywood newcomers.
“Actually, Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably… sort of unfound, untapped talent,” he shared. “Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”
Prior to starting negotiations with Waititi last month (Sep17), studio bosses at Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures had turned to Get Out director Jordan Peele as a possible contender, having developed the project on and off since 2011.
Leonardo DiCaprio stepped in to resurrect Akira as a producer in 2015, and he recruited Daredevil’s Marco J. Ramirez to write the script. Both are still attached to the film.