Sons of Anarchy writer Marco J. Ramirez has been roped in by Warner Brothers to write the much-awaited adaptation of the Japanese manga classic Akira.
— IMDb (@IMDb) June 9, 2015
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According to the Hollywood Reporter, Leonardo Di Caprio's Appian Way Productions and Andrew Lazar (American Sniper, I Love You Phillip Morris) are producing the adaptation, which has long been under a gestation period. Warner Bros. acquired the rights for a live-action adaptation of Akira in 2008, and even though several writers and directors have come close to signing deals with Warner Bros. since then, the deal has fallen through each time.
The closest Akira came to fruition was in 2012, when Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe, and Helena Bonham Carter were all due to act in the remake, while Jaume Collet-Serra was to direct it. However, as reported by the Wrap, the Vancouver facilities closed down due to problems with the script, casting, and the budget.
According to IFC, Tony Kebbell was also being considered for a part. Kebbell shed light on his conversation with the studio heads at Warner Brothers.
"They were like, 'This is going to be a big franchise!' So I said, 'Then in that case, understand that I've read the comics, and I've read the comics that got turned into the annuals, and then the annuals that got turned into the one-off anime. So if you really want to do it, then why don't you look at the six comics and just put two into each film?'"
But now Warner Bros. appears set to give Akira another shot in the arm, having already signed up Marco J. Ramirez, who has previously written the hugely popular FX drama Sons of Anarchy with Kurt Sutter, and is presently involved in show-running the second season of Netflix's highest-rated show, Daredevil.
One of the reasons for the studio's inability to produce Akira so far has been the classic manga's incompatibility with a live-action plot and an admittedly confusing story. Hugely popular in the 1980s, Akira tells the story of two biker gang brothers, living in post-nuclear apocalypse Neo-Tokyo, who drift away from each other when one begins to abuse his newly acquired telekinetic powers.
It is likely that Marco J. Ramirez was hired largely due to his involvement with Sons of Anarchy. Sons of Anarchy also dealt with biker gang members who are part of a motorcycle club, SAMCRO, and their clashes which result in a riveting family drama: basically the roadmap for Akira, if Ramirez does choose to follow it.
It is still not known if Leonardo DiCaprio's role in the film will be more than that of an executive producer, but with him joining the bandwagon, it certainly makes for an interesting team. As for Ramirez, with Sons of Anarchy and Daredevil already in his CV, this could be the perfect next step on the Sons of Anarchy writer's ladder.
[Photo: DailySuperHeroes.com, Charley Gallay / Getty Images, Jacopo Raule / Getty Images]