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Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight
UPDATE: Garrett Hedlund offered the lead

04 November 2011  |  Written by James White  |  Source: Variety

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Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight

Update: It's official on the Garrett Hedlund front - he's now in negotiations to play the bike gang leader, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Offers are still out to Gary Oldman, Helena Bonham Carter and, reportedly, Keira Knightley.

It’s been a long, hard road, littered with the debris of changing directors, rumoured stars and budgetary issues, but it appears Warner Bros. is finally ready to visit Neo Tokyo – or is it New Manhattan now? Yes, according to Variety, the studio has finally greenlit its live-action version of classic anime Akira.

Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra is the man still sitting in the director’s chair and the budget is apparently down to a more manageable $90 million. The plot finds a bike gang leader dealing with the fallout when his best pal is used in a government experiment to exploit his powerful psychokinetic abilities.

While there’s apparently a start date planned for February/March next year, the cast has yet to be locked. So who could star? Well, Tron Legacy's Garrett Hedlund is apparently in the frame as a likely lead – and at least he has experience with futuristic bikes. Even if they were lightcycles...

Warners nabbed the rights to Katsuhiro Otomo’s beloved animation back in 2008, with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way company aboard to produce. The script’s been through numerous drafts, with contributions from Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus, with the latest version penned by Harry Potter veteran Steve Kloves. Albert Hughes was at one point attached to direct and the likes of Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, James Franco, Robert Pattinson and Zac Efron have all been linked with rumours about the lead role.

Will it finally hit screens? And will the studio find the right cast to avoid accusations of “whitewashing” the characters? We’re closer to finding out both…

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Your Comments

RE: Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight
So many things could and probably will go wrong with this movie. I actually think Garret H. is a good choice considering the options out there (an Unknown being the exception, but naturally I would know what Unknown would fit best). Robert P. as Tetsuo, I dunno. I agree that he fits with the look of Tetsuo, but as for the acting part, I'm a loss. The only movie I've seen of his is Harry Potter and that's very brief. If the script of Akira is to borrow more from the graphic novels than the More

Posted by Johnny_A at 17:56 on 06 November 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight
The problem is to make it faithful to the original it will have to be dark, violent and bloody expensive. Bloody expensive usually leads to watered down so the studio can market it to everyone to make their cash back. Personally I think if you are making intelligent blockbusters that require serious CGI/FX work you should be looking at the new generation of CGI bods who can undercut Hollywood for example the guys who worked on Skyline. They can bring the effects needed to do justice to Ak More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 18:29 on 23 October 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight
L: jobloffski Shame the Wachowski's made Speed Racer and not this. 'm glad they made Speed Racer and not this. Imagine them remaking a film that they basically stole from in the first place for The Matrix now that they seem to have run out of ideas. More

Posted by Spaldron at 17:14 on 23 October 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight
Shame the Wachowski's made Speed Racer and not this. More

Posted by jobloffski at 08:36 on 23 October 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight
It says greenlight, but reading the Variety article all I see is rumour and "possible" casting. I hope it stays in development hell where it belongs, white washing this classic is a total joke. More

Posted by rich at 23:38 on 22 October 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight
I like to remain optimistic and previously I thought that with the right writer and director this could genuinely work. As some one else has said, Warner Bros. don't want to make a bad fim and they've got a good reputation for letting creators create rather than stifling them. However, this does reek of compromise. The budget is daft. $90 million is not enough to do a convincing job, although I'm guessing they're saving a bundle on a getting a second rate director. And I'm guessing it's no lon More

Posted by evildave69 at 14:44 on 22 October 2011 | Report This Post

Don't they sort of need a hefty budget for Akira? Very hefty at that. More

Posted by John Firth at 23:20 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

Anime in general
...Great news if they do it right and surely the tall one from Ant and Dec IS Tetsuo,(if they dub his accent, obv).I cannot believe Hollywood has not looked at many more of the wondrous anime stories that anyone who knows Japanese cinema, would know about,like my personal faves Cyber City 808,Devil Man,Spriggan and Ninja Scroll,(or did i hear Mr Decaprio was interested in that one). More

Posted by docksidedave at 20:22 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

Warner doesn't want to make a bad film, but it's about making money. Hopefully The Dark Knight shows that respect to the source material is the path to success, rather than the Batman & Robin approach. Besides, they handled Watchmen with aplomb- and it has the potential to be a Blade Runner. Not as if the original isn't already that good. Exporting the concept could work, but there's a lot of changes to be made. That's the scary part for the fans. I don't think this is necessary, but we migh More

Posted by sweetladybrick at 19:48 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

good bye everything i have ever loved... just like everything else good you too have to be raped my corporate dick bags More

Posted by fergww at 16:42 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

I think Whitewashing the cast would be a HUGE mistake, and insult...don't have any hopes for this :'( More

Posted by loretta27 at 16:20 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

I remain optimistic
I remain optimistic about this. Akira is surely one of the truly great Sci-Fi movies, and the fanbase / property owners will do everything they can to protect it. It's clear to me that this film shouldn't be a run-of-the-mill commercial project, but something far more profound and daring, much like Blade Runner (someone did earlier mention Ridley Scott). Akira should push boundaries and in the right hands, with the right aesthetic/decent effects/soundtrack/script reworking, this film could be sp More

Posted by jrewing1000 at 14:37 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

From the Man who brought you 'House of Wax'...
ok and Unknown, this so called *adaptation* will reek of compromise, would've been better if this were an all Japanese live action production, expect a title change to 'Allan' More

Posted by killakane at 13:30 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

Almost every suggested possible star is too old. Akira is about tearaway teenage kids who really don't give a damn about anything. Without that it will be a total waste of time. Some casting ideas (Keanu Reeves?)are utterly ridiculous. So total unknowns please. And don't do it in 3D cos' that would be crap too. More

Posted by ericcoyle at 13:28 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

This won't be the death of Akira!!!
What this film will demonstrate once and for all is just what a brilliant visionary Katsuhiro Otomo truly was when he created this franchise. This film will fail because he won't have the level of involvement that he deserves to have and will show that no matter how many scriptwriters, star names or millions of dollars you throw at a project like this it means diddly-squat next to the talent of one visionary person. More

Posted by Giddysamurai at 12:32 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

How can this be anything but a bad idea?
The only person who could do it justice is Ridley Scott, and he wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. More

Posted by loafroaster at 09:49 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

I just dont see this working...
This movie will go either one of two ways - Full on dark twisted Akira faithful (yes please!!) or AKIRA for Twilight fans. Not saying they are gonna cast R Patz (who i think could make a good Tetsuo to be fair) but i think Warner will go for a rated 12 watered down version. That will be the death of AKIRA. My casting choices would be James Franco for Akira and Giovanni Ribbisi for Tetsuo. More

Posted by willy2fly at 09:34 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

Unknown director and Garrett Hedlund?
I think the studio has such a tight grip on what they will and will not allow the movie to be that the big names have all been scared off one by one. They will now end up with the cr*p movie they have tried so long to avoid. I think they'll take as much of the cool visuals as possible and then try to repackage it for children ... who probably won't get it because some of the concepts are quite existential. More

Posted by Nicky C at 09:20 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Akira Finally Gets The Greenlight
I would like to see this tackled on the big screen again, but I'm just not certain that it can be done. The story is tight enough, but I think too many will demand insane bodyshock visuals because... well... that's Akira. I don't think this would work so well in live action. Not on the scale that Akira should require. I'm not convinced it will ever get made. If it does, I think it will be radically different to what we might be expecting. More

Posted by MoBiUGeArSkIn at 08:45 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

A sad day... More

Posted by Klamath at 03:40 on 20 October 2011 | Report This Post

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