Rumors began to swirl earlier this week that Warner Bros. is eyeing Daniel Espinosa (“Life”) and David Sandberg “Lights Out” as candidates to direct its long-in-the-works adaptation of “Akira.” Now, however, the studio is reportedly aggressively courting a surprising new name to take them help of the seemingly impossible project.
Tracking Board contends that none other than Jordan Peele is the current top choice to direct “Akira,” a project that’s been stuck in development hell for more than a decade. Peele’s feature directorial debut, the racially charged horror film “Get Out,” was critical and commercial success, earning more than $150 million on a $5 million budget. If the rumor is to be believed, Warner Bros. apparently wants to utilize the comedian-turned-director’s knack for socio-political commentary and love of genre films.
Keep in mind that Warner Bros. could also wind up asking Jordan Peele to direct THE FLASH. They want to work w/ him & AKIRA is on the table.
— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) March 30, 2017
Either movie would be a huge deal for both Warner Bros. and Peele. The rollout of the DC Extended Universe has been rocky, and “The Flash” has already run through two directors; with production reportedly being targeted to begin in the fall, the studio is undoubtedly eager to put someone behind the camera.
That said, finally getting “Akira” into theaters would end a struggle that’s been ongoing since Warner Bros. bought the rights to the influential manga in 2002. The closest the film came to reality was a few years ago with Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart attached to star, only for the project to be shelved at the last minute. With the adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell” hitting theaters this week and “Blade Runner 2049” set for later this year, maybe “Akira” can finally get the attention it’s long deserved.
Debuting in Young Magazine in 1988, Katsuhiro Otomo’s seminal cyberpunk manga became the first to be translated for English-speaking audiences, and was adapted by the author as a now-classic anime not long after.