Warner Bros. will turn anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume graphic novel masterwork “Akira” into two live action feature films, the first of which is being fast tracked for release in summer 2009, reports Variety.
WB, which had the “Akira” rights several years ago, only to let them lapse and then recapture them in a spirited bidding battle, is planning a twin-bill that the filmmakers have described as Blade Runner meets City of God.
The studio has closed a seven-figure rights acquisition deal with Kodansha, and has set Ruairi Robinson to direct a script by Gary Whitta (Book of Eli). Andrew Lazar’s Mad Chance will produce with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson.
Each feature will be comprised of three of the books in Otomo’s series. The drama takes place in “New Manhattan,” a metropolis that was rebuilt after being destroyed 31 years ago.
Robinson, an Irish helmer who has been Oscar-nominated for his short film and commercials work, is making his feature debut.