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Live action AKIRA is GO once more at WB


After many starts and stop — an Albert Hughes directed version had the plug pulled after pre-production had already started earlier this year — Warner Bros has greenlit a live action AKIRA remake again. This time Jaume Collet-Serra (ORPHAN) is set to direct. The movie apparently got new life after the budget was cut to a practically spartan $90 million.

The movie is based on the hugely influential animated 1988 AKIRA by Katsuhiro Otomo, itself based on the manga, which followed the adventures of two teen-aged bikers, Kaneda and Tetsuo in a cyberpunk Tokyo of the future, where Kaneda must prevent Tetsuo from releasing his psionic powers.

Of course, since no Asian actors can play Asian characters, the current fave to play Kaneda ia Tron Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund. And the setting is now New Manhattan.

The not at all liberal or dismissive Guardian has a rundown of the film’s halting history here, suggesting that a cheaper movie is being made because WB paid so much for the rights a few years ago.

Fortunately, the original manga is currently being published by Kodansha.

  1. Well, I’m not usually one to give the fan boy poo poo to early casting rumors, but the Tron guy (not THAT Tron Guy)? He was the worst thing about that movie, by far. All cookie cutter macho blandness and mumbles. The only thing that would be worse would be casting Sam Worthington somewhere in there.

  2. For the record, I love Akira, and even if they can’t cast Asian actors for whatever dumb reason they make up, at least cast some actual teenagers.

  3. I’m not interested in watching this movie unless it is cast with Asian actors. I really don’t care what other people have to say on the subject. If you don’t get why people with my mindset feel the way we do, then there’s no use arguing with you and I frankly don’t feel like wasting the energy.

  4. @T.S.: The important thing is that you’ve found a way to feel superior to those who disagree with you while simultaneously offering no support for your own perspective. Well played.

  5. The way I see T.S.’s opinion is that not casting Asian actors or using New Tokyo in an Akira movie (effectively erasing the story’s cultural significance) would be like casting a white guy to be Luke Cage.

  6. I’m paraphrasing this, but i heard this hollywood rule of thumb once: If there is more than 3 black or asian or latino characters in a film, then it’s a “black or asian or latino film” and can only be sold to that demo. gotta love that good ol’ american racism.

  7. Sure they got a 20 something playing the teen lead this time instead of someone in their 30s or 40s, yet the film is still fatally flawed.

    Taking Japan and Japanese teens out of Akira poisons the well. It rots the whole thing. You might as well take the New York out of Spider-man or Ghostbusters or or Ninja Turtles or a classic Woody Allen film set there. Take The Godfather and set it in China. Take Lawrence in Arabia and set it in California. Take Batman and set it in Miami.

    There’s no sense in naming it after the classic manga and animated film based on said manga if it is not in Japan.

    If you’re going to do that, it’s a new film. They didn’t simply call The Magnificent Seven the same thing as The Seven Samurai. Moving it to the west instead of Japan made it a new film. They don’t even have the balls to rename it because that’s all the hollow suits in Hollywood see, trademark names and not the story that makes the name stand out. You can’t just take the name Akira and fill in some different story. You don’t get anything near a good film like that.

  8. Disappointing. I am with T.S. for my reasoning to not bother with that Akira’s mash-up crap. And Phil said it best. Erasing the cultural significane is a bane in any moviedom but it is probably not so in American moviedom. Gonna re-read Akira books for the old time’s sake

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