Despite years in development hell, it looks as if the live-action Akira movie is finally about to get started filming in California.
A joint statement by the state of California and the California Film Commission confirmed that 18 movies would be receiving allocations to film, provided they filmed entirely in the state. Among these films is Akira, which is being executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. The film is being allocated $18,488,000, which is the third-highest tax allocation given to a movie by this partnership, followed by Bumblebee and Space Jam 2.
Following the announcement, Warner Bros. Picures EVP of PhysicalPproduction and Finance Ravi Mehta said, "We are thrilled with the opportunity to shoot Akira in California. The availability of top-notch crew members, plus the wide variety of location choices and predictable weather are second to none."
According to Deadline, Taika Waititi is still going to direct the film. This was announced last year, but, as time passed, little has been said about the project. With real money being put up for the film, however, it's clear that this long-gestating project is finally close to production.
Akira has been in various stages of development for years. Much like the recently released Alita: Battle Angel, Akira was first acquired by Warner Bros. in 2002. Several writers and directors have been attached to the project, including such names as Stephen Norrington, Ruairi Robinson, Allen and Albert Hughes, George Miller, Christopher Nolan, Jaume Collet-Serra and Justin Lin. Even Jordan Peele was offered the project at one point. However, it sounds as though Waititi will ultimately bring the film to life.
Prior statements indicate Waitiit intends on keeping the ethnicity of all the characters accurate to the source material. Whatever he has in store for fans, it's apparently enough to inspire confidence in Warner Bros. to move ahead with production.
One can only hope that, following Alita: Battle Angel bringing in over $400 million in the box office, Akira will continue the train of successful live-action anime adaptations.
Directed by Taika Waititi, Akira is expected to start filming this year. There remains no official release date, casting or any other details.