For many fans of the popular six-part Japanese manga or the 1988 animated film, the announcement of a live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s Akira was a scary but quietly intriguing prospect. With today’s filmmaking technologies, there’s no doubt that a faithful and well-made film could be amazing to see, if put in the right hands.
Then came word that Albert Hughes and Allan Hughes would be stepping in to direct the movie for Warner Brothers and Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way Productions.
At that point, Children of Men, Iron Man, and Cowboys and Aliens writing duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby were working on the script, but it sounds like now a change has been made. In an interview with Collider, producer Andrew Lazar talked all things Akira. Among the things discussed, he shared that the new writer working on the project is Albert Torres. Also, that the first of the proposed two films would be based on parts 1-3 of the manga, and the second of course will focus on parts 4-6.
The troubling thing about this news is that Torres only has one writing credit, and that one credit is Luke Wilson’s Henry Poole is Here. Yeah. Hard to figure out how that’s better than the resume of the guys they had before that. There is always the chance that Torres could be working from a pre-existing draft, but that is yet to be seen.
On top of all of that, Film School Rejects (via BDK Reviews) came across an interview that Albert Hughes did on The Kevin and Josh Movie Show. In this interview, Hughes stated that the first thing that Warner Bros. said to him, was that it had to be rated PG-13. This will surely infuriate the hardcore fans — maybe even to a point of not wanting to see it — though it’s not craziest plan in the world. As /Film points out, the studio put a ton of money into Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, and even though it was an amazing R-rated adaptation of an un-adaptable graphic novel, it did not do all that well at the box office ($130-$150 million budget, $185 million worldwide box office). Unfortunately, from a business standpoint, they just don’t feel they can risk that again.
As mentioned, this live-action Akira movie will be two parts, with both expected to be directed by the Hughes Brothers. Now this doesn’t look so certain. In the same radio interview, Albert says “I’m not into sequels. I don’t even know if I wanna be around for the sequel. I’m just focusing on the first movie.” This is very interesting because it’s not really a sequel. Again, the first movie will handle parts 1-3 of the manga, and the second will handle parts 4-6, making one big two-part film. This would be like Quentin Tarantino saying he didn’t want to make Kill Bill Part 2 for the same reasons.
Aside from all of that, this sounds like a project that Warner Brothers is excited about getting made. Knowing what you know now, are you excited at all, or disgusted?