Two months ago, we reported that Warner Bros. was courting Jordan Peele (director of the sleeper hit, Get Out) to direct the live-action, big screen adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, which has been in development hell for over 5 years. Turns out, Peele, who is a fan of Akira, wants to concentrate on original content.
Here’s what he told BH.com: “I think [I could do it] if the story justifies it,” Peele said. “Akira is one of my favorite movies, and I think obviously the story justifies as big a budget as you can possibly dream of. But the real question for me is: Do I want to do pre-existing material, or do I want to do original content? At the end of the day, I want to do original stuff.”
Instead, Peele is currently developing Lovecraft Country, a new Horror TV project with producer J.J. Abrams for HBO. Based on a novel written by Matt Ruff, the series, which will take places in the 1950s, “reclaims genre storytelling from the African-American perspective.”
In addition to Peele, a handful of directors, including Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli), Jaume Collet-Serra (Run All Night) and Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond) have been tied to Akira, but exited due to creative differences (or other unexplainable reasons).
One of the last filmmakers connected to Akira was Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight), who was supposedly involved (along with Nolan’s brother, Jonathan, who at one point was hired to re-write the script). Marco J. Ramirez, the scribe who co-showran the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil, was/is also attached as one of the writers. At one point, Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Jennifer Davisson Killoran (Orphan) and Andrew Lazar (Jonah Hex) were on board as producers.
As far as actors and actresses, many names such as Keanu Reeves, James Franco, Garrett Hedlund, Robert Pattinson, James McAvoy, Andrew Garfield, Chris Pine, Michael Fassbender, Justin Timerlake, Joaquin Phoenix, Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart, Ezra Miller, Alden Eherenreich, D.J. Cotrona, Logan Marshal Green, Toby Kebbell, Richard Madden, Rami Malek, Michael Pitt, Paul Dano, Alden Ehrenreich and Ken Watanabe (we’ll stop here) have all been considered for roles. Some have dropped out, others are still loosely attached.
The story of Akira involves a secret military project that endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psionic psychopath that only two kids and a group of psionics can stop.
We’ll keep you updated on this story as we hear more.