‘Harry Potter’ Screenwriter To Rework ‘Akira’ Script

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 24th, 2013 at 10:09 am,

There’s been an overall negative reaction to the news that Warner Bros. is developing an Americanized, live-action adaptation of the cult Japanese comic book Akira, and early impressions of the script were fairly mixed as well.

Studio heads also seem to feel that the Akira screenplay could use some polishing, and have recruited Harry Potter franchise alumni Steve Kloves to handle the job.

Variety is reporting that Kloves will be the fifth screenwriter involved in crafting the script for Akira, which will be directed by the Hughes Brothers. The first draft was penned  by Iron Man/Cowboys & Aliens scribers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, before the Hughes’ Book of Eli screenwriter, Gary Whitta, took a stab at the script. Albert Torres (whose sole writing credit is for the indie dramedy Henry Poole is Here) was responsible for the Akira screenplay in its current form.

While most of these fellows have a solid background in developing action-packed sci-fi lore, it seems that the act of turning Katsuhiro Otomo’s original story into a strong Hollywood tentpole pic is one trick that’s not yet been mastered. Enter Kloves, who was saddled with the task of translating J.K. Rowling’s dense Harry Potter text into film, and did an increasingly good job of it with each subsequent movie – though it stands to mention that he didn’t write the screenplay for the fifth flick (which is a plus in a lot of Potter fans’ minds).

If there’s one thing that Kloves seemed to pick up on with the later Harry Potter movies, it’s that strong liberties must sometimes be taken with the source material – especially when you’re adapting literature to the film medium. That approach is arguably similar to what is needed in order for the Americanized Akira to work. Granted, Otomo’s graphic novel was turned into a hand-drawn film back in 1988 (and that’s probably the version most of you readers are familiar with), but it’s not unfair that say that Japanese animation and Hollywood action blockbusters are different kinds of beast.

akira imagen Harry Potter Screenwriter To Rework Akira Script

It’s been a rough week for Akira, what with Mila Kunis and James Franco passing on the project to go join Oz, the Great and Powerful, but a thorough retooling of the script by Kloves could be the ticket to convincing other big names to sign on instead. That still doesn’t guarantee that the film won’t turn out to be a dud when all is said and done, but it’s a start.

We’ll keep you posted on the development of Akira, including when production might be getting underway, as more information is released.

Source: Variety

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  1. Giant red flag for Akira. Plus, the Harry Potter movies are passable to middling compared to the books.
    Maybe the mantra is “When in doubt, attach a high profile name from a high profile movie to appeal to your target audience.”
    That’ll sell tickets.

  2. I love the Harry Potter movies, but I seriously doubt this film will ever work. Even Christopher Nolan couldn’t make a decent adaptation (okay, I’m exaggaration lol).

  3. I get all happy when i read “harry potter” on screenrant LOL!

    Well Steve Kloves has done OK with the script he occasionally puts cheesy lines,but hes ok.

  4. this project seemed doomed from the start. The potential for a good adaptation/film is constantly being tested when news like this continues to come out.

  5. Epic Fail…..

  6. So those who liked Harry Potter and the slow, plodding pace those films have think that the same person can make a difference in the success of Akira?

    Basically Hollywood thinks Akira is a kiddie cartoon and that if they simply get someone who has written for kids to come on board it will fast track this project. Major failure on this project.

  7. Oh my effen GOD. Please DON’T put this masterpiece through your grinder Hollywood! This is one of the all time greatest anime/manga story ever told and they get THIS GUY to write a script for it?!?

    The only way I’d see an American made AKIRA live action movie is if Zack Snyder or Guillermo del Toro directed it and it was rated a ‘hard R’. Or a collaboration of killer directors. I WILL BE BOYCOTTING THIS MOVIE.

    -Dragonball: Evolution anyone? lmao!

    • They will slap a PG-13 on this and claim they had to do it to maximize the profit margin while gutting the original.

      • I agree. The PG-13 rating is gonna kill this movie. I usually don’t care for rating, but the source material is hardly PG-13 material.

        • The heads of Hollywood execs are so far up their asses, it’s a small wonder they can even find them in the morning.

          It’s sad and pathetic — they wonder why so many people are turning their backs on American movies? It’s because the quality level has dropped to zero, or even a Negative Amount. I understand making profits, but when MONEY MONEY MONEY becomes the SOLE reason for a movie, rendering movies to be nothing more than product coming off a conveyor belt, more like canned, processed food than the real thing, there’s nowhere to go but further downward.

          They’re going to take the R-Rated Akira, whitewash it, have a Harry Potter screenwriter tone it all down, whittle away all the “bad” and “mean” things, and pander to younger audiences. That’s what Disney is for. That’s why Dreamworks animation is for. There’s already plenty of G and PG-rated animated movies for young people. They’re going to try to make Akira some nice, down-home action piece for mainstream audiences? Talk about shooting your horse before it’s even out the gate.

          Akira’s not that movie.

          I wonder if they’ll soon remake Apocalypse Now in the same way. I’d like to see what they cut out of that movie.

          This has fail written all over it. From the very idea of remaking it, to setting it in America and not Japan, to the casting, to the screenwriter… The final product will be so far removed from Akira, any connection will be rendered moot.

          Hollywood’s really good at one thing — screwing up remakes.

  8. Please leave this masterpiece alone. It will be terrible! If it’s done right it will be the greatest achievement in all of film.

    • It can never be done right in the hands of American film makers. Most of them bow to the MPAA and go with PG-13 ratings.

  9. I haven’t even seen the film and even I can see this film is going nowhere. Someone like Aaron Johnson should play the title character judging by appearance and bad-ass looking apparel. Johnson can pull off action. Kick-Ass. With drama of course. Nowhere Boy.

    Now I want to find and buy this movie.

  10. I’m curious; are these guys going to change the names of the characters because I can’t see a non-Asian with a Japanese name. And like everyone else has said, this needs to be R-rated to be done right. What would Blade have looked like if it was PG-13?

    • Wasn’t there a script review posted on here earlier that said the name was changed from Kaneda to Travis (ugh!!)?

      • In that case, EPIC FAIL!

  11. The destroyer of dreams, Bay has somehow got his grips into Akira. It must be this! how else can this travesty be explained?

    If I was Tetsuo i would teleport to Hollywood, turns the execs inside out and then go back to the institute and dance with the bears and cars to the Dolls polyphony. And then of course battle Kaneda, have my arm ripped off and ascend to a new level of evolution, just like akira did.

  12. Please just let this project die.

    While I love the anime,it is actually a shell of the manga,and there’s absolutely no way on Earth that ANYONE could ever get this right.The tone,the characters,the plot,the setting,everything about this story is jsut better served in the two medium that they are already represented in.

    It would take no less than three movies to encapsulate all of the aspects of the original manga,but even then,it’s so non Western in tone,that it just wouldn’t translate well if it were adapted,and that’s when Hollywood would cannibalize it,and then,what’s that point?!

    If you aren’t going to tell the story of Akira,then don’t even bother “trying” to tell the story of Akira,because it’s just going to end up being a total fail.

    No matter what,if this movie ever get’s made,I will 100% refuse to ever watch it in a one man passive aggressive protest against Hollywood.Who’s with me?

    • Here here!!! I am with you sir! I totally agree with you on all counts!!!

  13. Leave it alone USA film studios.

  14. I always wondered as a kid reading it if Akira shouldve just been called “John” when translated. It was a stupid question then, & seems even dumber now.
    In either case-
    I guess we’re about to find out!

  15. IM SICK OF HEARING HOW PERPETUALLY WORSE THE DIRECTION OF THIS PROJECT IS GOING IN.

    Leave it alone. Just leave it alone hollywood. You are meddling with powers you cannot possibly understand. The power of otaku!!! You continue on this pathetic, disgusting attempt on intentionally butchering one of the best animations of all time to cash in on that MONEY then we will boycott you. This abomination you’re creating will be the first. Anything else you spew out of your putrid orifice will be cast out as well. I swear if they go ahead on this I will stop going to theaters.

  16. first off if this were to be made into a live action film , I would want several things 1st do not let any americans near it.
    2nd have some one like Yimou Zhang direct it (he directed Hero and house of flying Daggers)
    3rd it should be filmed in Japanese with a Japanese cast, with subtitles , just how i watched it the first time I saw it , Do not Dubb it
    4th have it backed by an American Studio , with no interference, we just want their money.
    5th , do a true adaption of the Anime and do not touch the Manga , its to much to do and in all honesty it does drag in parts of the manga.

    • I can go for that.

      Why does that sound like a Hall & Oats song? 8-)

      • No can do, Kahless!! You forgot the e in Oates though ;)

    • I’ve always felt the idea of Japanese Actors for a live action production, but instead of subtitles or a dub, make the film with Japanese-american actors, with the dialogue, have them do one take in Japanese, and one take in English. Couldn’t hurt things in that way, right?

  17. If the Japanese can manage to do a big budget version of Space Battleship Yamato then THEY should get first crack at doing Akira.

  18. This is good news. He kept enough of the elements of the books in the films to make them flow well and contain important elements of the overall story. The writer of five dropped the ball on the latter point and the stories films since have suffered slightly.

    This can still work if they understand the main characters enough and cast AGE APPROPRIATE, classically trained actors, and not a couple of models from Cali.

  19. P.s. In the last five minutes I’ve read volume one of Akira and have to say that the character of Kaneda is somewhat different from the anime. His actions are the same but his motivations are altogether dissimilar. I’m not sure I like him as much.

  20. Dream on, their’s no way to make this property into a movie that can appeal to a mainstream American audience! Its soul, at least in part, is tied to Japan! It’s loaded with emotional content that makes sense only if you’ve experienced or at least studied Japanese history. It’s apart of what makes it what it is and to expect a domestic “TENT POLE” movie out of it is preposterous. Slap PG-13 on it and they are severely embarrassing themselves. titling it “Akira” and it’s nearly a blasphemy…