In 2008, Warner Bros. acquired the film rights to Akira, an immensely popular Japanese manga that was translated into an equally popular animated film in 1988. Since then, the studio has had difficulty seeing the project to fruition. Through the years, the project has gone through several producers, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way, as well as a handful of writers and directors, such as Gary Whitta and the Hughes brothers. The production even attracted a handful of major actors, with the likes of Keanu Reeves, Zac Efron, Garrett Hedlund, and Gary Oldman all being attached at one point.
In spite of such promising talent being attached, production on the film has stalled again and again. The latest news was that Daredevil‘s new showrunner, Marco J. Ramirez, was next in line to write a draft of the script. That was all the way back in June, however, and things have been relatively quiet – until now, as it seems some movement on the live-action adaptation is sure to be seen, now that an A-list filmmaker is rumored to be attached.
According to a new report from Den of Geek, Christopher Nolan – director of The Dark Knight trilogy and Interstellar – may be attached to take the reins on Warner Bros. planned Akira trilogy. Allegedly, Nolan met with an unnamed director, who was previously attached to the production, to discuss the project for the past few months. The report maintains that DiCaprio’s Appian Way is still producing, with the aforementioned Ramirez still on board to pen the latest draft of the script.
It should be noted that this is still considered a rumor at this point – until confirmation comes from either Warner Bros. or Nolan. Even then, it’s not clear what capacity Nolan would be involved, but just last week, it was announced that Nolan’s next project would come out in July 0f 2017. It’s feasible, then, that he plans to fill the director’s chair for Akira, making the high-profile adaptation the confidential project with a summer release date. But given Nolan’s projects as of late, perhaps it is a bit more likely that he would act as a producer instead, similar to what he did with Man of Steel.
Since Nolan’s early days as a small-budget director, he has gradually worked on bigger and bigger projects, like The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and last year’s Interstellar. And as the original storyline for Akira follows a gang of motorcyclists in the futuristic, post-apocalyptic city of Neo-Tokyo – perhaps best described as an aesthetic combination of Blade Runner and Tron: Legacy – the film would almost certainly require an imposing budget. The original reason the project had trouble getting off the ground previously was due to the expense associated with undertaking such a production. But with a high-profile filmmaker like Nolan serving in any capacity – from director to producer – getting a studio to sign off on a large budget may not be quite as difficult.
However, aside from The Dark Knight movies, Nolan has seemed more interested in creating films from original ideas and concepts. That’s not to say Nolan doesn’t have a unique take on the material that would make Akira his next big franchise. To add fuel to such speculation, it’s worth noting that Christopher’s brother Jonathan Nolan was previously attached to rewrite a draft of the film, so at least one of the Nolan brothers – who are known to work together – already has a history with the property. It remains to be seen whether or not Nolan will end up directing Akira, but with this report following so closely to news of the director’s upcoming effort having an appealing summer 2017 release date, further clarification will likely be coming soon.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more news on Akira as it becomes available.
Source: Den of Geek
Header art by JonasDeRo