Taika Waititi, director of the much-anticipated Thor: Ragnarok movie, is rumored to helm the live-action adaptation of Akira, the iconic manga series about a post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo. Unlike most directors who adapt manga or anime storylines, Waititi does not plan on straying far from the original work. In fact, the Thor director intends to avoid whitewashing the movie, even hiring young Asian actors to star in the film if he decides to take on the project.
According to IGN, Warner Bros. has wanted to make a live-action version of Akira for quite some time. The last time the production company tried to break some ground in the live-action version of Akira was in 2011. Big names like Kristen Stewart, Dane DeHaan, and Garrett Hedlund were attached to the project. Unfortunately, the project fell through and the film was never made.
It seems like Warner Bros. is trying to make the live-action Akira movie happen once again. Rumors have surfaced that the Thor: Ragnarok director, Taika Waititi, has been approached to direct the movie.
While the director himself has yet to confirm the rumor, he has talked about how he would approach the project if he were to helm the movie. The New Zealand film director wants to base the live-action adaptation of Akira solely on the manga and not the anime, which very few manga-to-film directors have done.
Most live-action adaptations, like Ghost in the Shell or Netflix’s Death Note, do not stay faithful to the manga or anime, states Cinema Blend. Most directors who helm these live-action projects haven’t even read or watched the original material. Waititi, however, has read all six volumes of the Akira manga and seems to have watched the anime version as well.
Waititi also seems to be willing to take the one step needed to make a great live-action manga or anime movie — no whitewashing. If he does direct Akira, he plans on hiring Asian actors for the film.
“Yeah. Actually, Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the [manga].”
Waititi’s attachment to the film is very important to note since he seems to be the one director who could pull off a live-action movie of Akira or any book to film adaptation for that matter.
With the new Thor movie, Waititi was able to take some of Jack Kirby’s magic and some of the personality of the comic and bring it into the superhero flick, reported Comicbook. Waititi could lend some of his talents to Warner Bros.’ Akira. After all, adapting a comic book storyline into a movie is similar to adapting a manga into a live-action flick.