Is Warner Brothers long in development live action adaptation of the classic manga and anime Akira finally going to get into production? Jaume Collet-Serra, the latest director who has been attached to the project, is doing his best to make sure it is.
While doing the publicity rounds for his latest film Non-Stop, Collet-Serra told Collider that Akira should be his next top priority.
I’m focusing on Akira though. So hopefully that’s the next one… I’ve done two movies since I put this little pause on that project… But now powers that be are interested.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as it is a confirmation of reports from last August that Warner Brothers was looking at reviving the project, which the studio had put on hold in January 2012 as casting was beginning to shape up over concerns about the film’s cost.
Budget problems have always appeared to be the root of the problem of getting a live-action Akira a reality. Albert Hughes was the first director on the project, but his take was in the very pricey neighborhood of $180 million, When Warners balked, Hughes walked. Collet-Sera had managed to cut the proposed budget in half down to $90 million but the studio still had cold feet and pulled the plug in early 2012 when he couldn’t get the budget down into the $60-$70 million range.
But Collet-Sera states that it wasn’t actually budget concerns as it was the scope of the film that has kept it from being made so far.
[I]t’s an overall conceptual thing. You know, it’s how big the movie should be, you know, for the complexity of the concept.
Granted Akira is a rather complex manga and I think that Katsuhiro Otomo did an admirable job in adapting his work into the 1988 anime classic. I don’t think that the material would be served by watering it down or skimping on the budget in order to reduce the scope of its story. I wish Warner Brothers would man up and take a chance on a full bore adaptation of this, but it doesn’t look like they are brave enough to do so.