Deadline.com Exclusive: The script for the Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures live action adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s 6-volume graphic novel Akira has been sent to a short list of actors. The picture is finally taking shape for an August start, following the delivery of a rewrite by Steve Kloves that has director Albert Hughes and the studio brass excited. The story takes place in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment. There are two major roles, and I'm told that for Tetsuo, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy have been given the new script. For the role of Kaneda, the script has been given to Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix. The two leads are expected to come from that group of actors.
Andrew Lazar is producing with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran. Akira has been one of Warner Bros' high priority projects since the studio with Legendary Pictures acquired it for a 7-figure sum 2 years ago from manga publisher Kodansha. The intention has been to make 2 films, each covering 3 books in the series. Akira was first adapted for the screen in 1988.
Read more on Akira-The Film 1988 and Akira - The Manga
Another article from IndieWire and Production Status Update from ALL UNDER the CUT
IndieWire The long-gestating “Akira” remake seems has been knocking around for awhile now and to Warner Bros. credit, they are trying to get it as right as possible before moving this thing forward. With most fans outright skeptical of how the studio is going to change the wild, decidedly not mainstream manga into a broadly appealing, PG-13 two-film franchise, last month the studio brought in the big guns which—for better or worse—point in the direction they’re headed. Steve Kloves, who has penned seven of the eight ‘Harry Potter’ movies, was tasked with polishing the script for gestating “Akira” and WB appear to be very happy with his work.
Deadline report that director Albert Hughes (curiously, no mention of his brother Allen…hmmm…..) and WB are stoked on the new script and have send it out to some very heavyweight talent. Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy have all had the screenplay sent their way for the role of Tetsuo, while Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix will be flipping the pages for the part of Kaneda.
Now there is definitely going to be a cry that the material has been whitewashed, but the the film has been relocated to New Manhattan with the first film being adapted from books 1-3 of the manga (though why they didn’t change the names of the characters as well seems a little odd). Still, die hard fans will definitely not be pleased, but in the studio’s defense, this project was never for that core fanbase anyway. It’s been made pretty apparent that WB are looking for a more marketable film that the anime classic and that’s what they’re going to deliver.
Frankly, all the names listed aren’t really a surprise (except for maybe Phoenix). Every actor mentioned has either starred in or contended (or both) for previous franchise films and these are really the top players in their age bracket. It’s not completely a shock that studio is gunning for them, and Deadline adds WB expects the two leads to come from this crop of names.
No release dates or anything is set yet and we’d guess it’ll be up to the schedule of whoever lands the part as to when this will lens.
Production Update via Larry411
STATUS: Summer 2011
PRODUCER: Andrew Lazar – Jon Jashni – Allen Hughes – Leonardo DiCaprio – Jennifer Davisson Killoran
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Albert Hughes
WRITER: Albert Torres – Steve Kloves
APPIAN WAY 8
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
When a young man’s telekinesis is discovered by the military, he is taken in to be turned into a super-weapon and his brother nuts race to save him
before Manhattan is destroyed by his powers. Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother, Tetsuo, is abducted by
government agents led by The Colonel. Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who
are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to
be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers. Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind. Kaneda clashes with the Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island, as he did thirty years ago. Live-action, English-language remake of the 1988 film “Akira” directed by Katsuhiro Otomo