The project has had a long, difficult road, going through two directors, one co-financier and a half-dozen screenwriters since the studio acquired the rights in 2008. "Akira" was finally greenlit in late 2011, with Jaume Collet-Serra attached to direct and "Tron: Legacy's" Garrett Hedlund set to star as Kaneda, but Warner Bros. abruptly pulled the plug less than three months later due to reported budget and casting concerns.
The project seemed to spring back to life in 2013, with Collet-Serra still behind the camera, only to stall again less than two years later. "Akira" stirred once again last summer, with "Daredevil" co-showrunner Marco Ramirez tapped to take a crack at the script.
Now comes word that Warner Bros. wants director Justin Lin ("Star Trek Beyond," "The Fast and the Furious") to take the reins.
The rumor, which we're cautioned "should be taken with a grain of salt," surfaced from "Meet the Movie Press," where host (and Variety alum) Jeff Sneider noted "Akira" no longer has a cast attached. It does, however, have a new script, with Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way still on board to produce.
Although Lin is already signed to direct "Space Jam 2," also at Warner Bros., Sneider suggests the studio might be willing to shuffle schedules. "All I know is that Warner Bros. really seems to believe in Justin Lin," he said, "and he is the target to direct 'Akira' at this time."