The Hughes Brothers (Book of Eli) are in negotiations with Warner Bros. to direct a live-action take on manga Akira. They will develop it from a screenplay by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, who wrote Iron Man.
As near as we can figure, Akira is about the leader of a biker gang who tries to save his kidnapped pal from a powerful supernatural experiment.
Yeah, that’s…pretty much the basic idea.
I haven’t read Katsuhiro Otomo’s original 1980 manga, but the anime adaptation is an absolute masterpiece, and in my personal “holy trinity” of Japanese animated films (the other two being Spirited Away and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). Because of this, I’d normally not be too keen on the idea of a live-action “remake,” but there is an opportunity to create something very different here. Apparently much of the second half of the manga was removed from the 1988 film in order to keep the running time decent, and so the Hughes Brothers’ adaptation will be split into two films, each based on three of the six manga volumes.
I hope the story isn’t Hollywoodised or Americanised too much, as I’d hate to see some of the more surreal scenes, and the deeper issues within the story, given the boot for the sake of some more explosions. I’m sure the Hughes won’t do away with these aspects though, I’ll give them a bit of trust. With a big budget to realise the amazing action set pieces, a good script, and a large enough margin between it and the anime adaptation, this new Akira could be something to look forward to.
All of this comes from Vulture’s exclusive story.
P.S. Anyone know where to get a reasonably-priced copy of the anime on blu-ray?