Western adaptations of anime stories haven’t had great press as of late. With Netflix’s “Death Note” and Paramount Pictures’ “Ghost in the Shell” both recently accused of whitewashing stories unique to the cultures that produced them, it may be for the best that Warner Bros. has taken the better part of 15 years to get a live-action version of Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Akira” going. Luckily for those who can’t wait to see such a version of “Akira” on the big screen, Warner Bros. is presently rumored to be zeroing in on a director, with two names currently considered, according to Meet the Movie Press.
Right now, the two directors reported to be in the running are Daniel Espinosa and David Sandberg. Espinosa is the director of the freshly released “Life,” the science fiction thriller about a rapidly evolving lifeform wreaking havoc aboard a space station. Sandberg directed 2016’s surprise horror hit “Lights Out,” which pitted one woman against a supernatural entity attached to her mother. That film was Sandberg’s directorial debut.
Warner Bros. has been in some form of development of a live-action “Akira” adaptation ever since the studio secured the rights back in 2002. Since then, names like George Miller, Christopher Nolan and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” writer Gary Whitta have been associated with the project in some capacity. Most recently, director Jaume Collet-Serra was attached to the project, but bowed out to take a break from directing. The news about Espinosa and Sandberg comes from Meet the Movie Press’ Jeff Snider, who in June of 2016 reported that “Fast & Furious” and “Star Trek Beyond” director Justin Lin was in talks to helm the film. The last known writer attached to the project was “Daredevil” showrunner Marco Ramirez.
“Akira” started as a manga series written by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also directed the 1988 anime adaptation. The story follows a teenage biker gang member and Neo Tokyo denizen, Tetsuo Shima, who becomes embroiled in a mystery involving his leader, Shotaro Kaneda, and a series of government experiments designed to harness the human potential for psychic proficiency. The experiment, of course, goes awry, which leaves Katsuhiro to discover the secrets of the enigmatic Akira.
The “Akira” manga was originally serialized in “Young Magazine” between 1982 and 1990 before it was compiled into six volumes by Kodansha. The series was one of the first manga to be translated in its entirety for release in English-speaking countries. The translation and publication was completed by Epic Comics, a former imprint of Marvel Comics.
(via Meet the Movie Press)