Warner Bros.’ attempts to produce a live-action movie based on Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic cyberpunk anime film Akira has been ongoing for many years now, but after departing the director’s chair in early 2012 when production stalled, Jaume Collet-Serra is returning to the fold and plans to go into production on the movie as early as Spring 2014.
Set in a future city environment called New Manhattan, the sci-fi epic follows the leader of a bike gang who must save his best friend, who has been experimented on by the government causing him to develop dangerous and destructive psychokinetic powers.
Warner Bros. bought the rights to the Japanese manga from publisher Kodansha in 2008 for a seven-figure deal, but after years of development, they shut down pre-production on the movie in early 2012 to work on the script and get the budget down from its original $90 million range. At the same time, they looked at other directors to try to get the film delivered on a smaller scale, including Catfish and “Paranormal Activity” helmers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, according to Variety.
After many attempts to get the project off the ground, Warner Bros. have gone back to Collet-Serra as the director found time in his schedule to tackle the adaptation in a way that will meet the studio’s requested budget.
Collet-Serra is currently in production on his third movie in a row with actor Liam Neeson, the crime pic Run All Night co-starring Joel Kinnaman and Ed Harris, which follows the recently-completed Non Stop (out next February) and their hit action-thriller Unknown.
Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing the movie with Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar, while Katsuhiro Otomo, who wrote and directed the 1988 Japanese anime version of Akira, will executive produce.
Garrett Hedlund was once attached to star in the movie but may no longer be available.