Deadline is exclusively reporting that Warner Bros. is in negotiations with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi to direct the film adaptation of anime classic Akira.
Akira, created by Katsuhiro Otomo, was released as a manga beginning in the early 80’s before it became well known property as an anime classic in 1988 as the story focuses on 31 years after World War III when an atom bomb vaporised Tokyo, Neo-Tokyo has risen in 2019 and is a city filled with violence and desolation. One night during a rival bike gang fight, one of the members called Tetsuo then has an accident with a small mysterious person leading to a crash and an explosion. This leads to Tetsuo becoming involved in a covert government project called Akira and Kaneda, the bike gang leader and close friend of Tetsuo, sets out on quest to find and save his friend.
This film adaptation will take place in a rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment. Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar is producing the project alongside Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson. A live-action american adaptation of Akira has been in development for a long time. At one point back in 2011 Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart were in talks to star in the film but never came to fruition. Then in 2015, George Miller admitted that he turned down the opportunity to direct the film, citing that he had too many projects in the pipeline. Recent times seen Jordan Peele being offered to direct from Warner Bros. back at the end of March after his success with his directorial feature Get Out but he declined to instead keep filming original content.
It would be an interesting choice to have Waititi direct and pending on how Thor: Ragnarok is received once it’s released next month, I’m putting this into the ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ file in terms of actually watching a Hollywood budget adaptation of the manga within the next three years.