Daredevil writer Marco J. Ramirez hopes to finally make a live-action adaptation of the classic anime Akira — a project that’s languished since Warner Bros. obtained the rights in 2008. Akira fans are likely taking the news with a grain of salt after being disappointed before.
Akira, the complicated story of two young motorcycle gang members who turn against each other once one becomes a megalomaniac with telekinetic powers, has a new lease on life.
According to CNN, Warner Bros. hired on writer Marco J. Ramirez to remake the script for an Akira adaptation. Ramirez is the co-executive producer on the Netflix Daredevil series. He was also a writer for Sons of Anarchy, Orange is the New Black, and Da Vinci’s Demons.
Andrew Lazar will produce the new Akira, along with Leonardo DiCaprio’s shingle, Appian Way.
There’s not much more information than that.
The announcement has Akira fans cautiously optimistic, but they have been burned before.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the project almost went forward in 2012 when Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe, and Helena Bonham Carter were all negotiating to be part of it. Then, the executives suddenly shut down the Akira studios in Vancouver and told everyone to go home.
One problem was the budget. The studios wanted to go from $90 million to $60 million (and $90 million was already a slimmed down amount.) But that was reportedly minor compared to some script issues.
The Akira adaptation would have Americanized the storyline, placing it in New Manhattan after a nuclear war instead of “Neo Tokyo.” It would have also made the two main characters brothers.
Those changes might have angered Akira‘s base of hardcore anime and manga aficionados. Likewise, the film aimed to cast the originally Asian characters with American players, which could have also caused problems. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the movie Aloha got into trouble for casting Emma Stone as a part-Asian, part-Hawaiian character.
How far Ramirez will adapt Akira to mainstream American audiences remains to be seen.
The original Akira manga comic ran from 1982 to 1990, and it was made into an anime feature in 1988. The anime has been called the greatest anime of all time, making Time‘s list of the top five anime DVDs and receiving an 87 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Considering Hollywood’s new obsession with making comic books and former cartoons into live-action blockbusters, Akira should be a hot commodity.
Drew Crevello and Nik Mavinkurve are also overseeing the Akira adaptation for Warner Bros. Studios.
[Image via wallpapercave.com]