After an indeterminate time in development and cycling through a number of writers and directors, Warner Brothers has finally given a greenlight to the a live-action adaption of the classic anime Akira. Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan) will helm the film working from a $90 million budget. Shooting is expected to commence in late February/early March of next year.
No casting has been done yet, but Variety, who broke the story, reported that the studio’s first choice is Tron:Legacy‘s Garrett Hedlund for the lead role of Kanada.
Previously, Warners and Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Apian Way have worked with such creatives as directors Ruairi Robinson and Albert Hughes and writers Gary Whitta, Albert Torres, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby and Steve Kloves.
While I revere Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 original film, I have to wonder if Collet-Serra is the right director for the job. Although he is reportedly a fan of the anime, there’s really nothing on his resume that gives me confidence that he can handle the material. I’m also leery about the fact that Warners has gotten the budget down to $90 million from the projected $150 million the project originally had. This is a sprawling, epic-sized tale and just $90 million might be a bit paltry to fully realize the film.