Collider has exclusively broken the news that the rumored-dead Akira movie is in fact alive and well over at Warner Bros.

The website’s inside source claims that two screenwriters are currently at work on Akira, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, who are credited with doing a lot of initial script work for Iron Man (though that script went through several on-set rewrites). The pair also did the pen-work for the excellent Children of Men and are working on the script for the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens, which could re-unite them with Iron Man director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr.

So what is being planned for the Akira movie and how closely will it resemble Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 anime classic? Keep reading to the learn the answer.

The Akira anime was set in “Neo-Tokyo” of 2019, so first order of business for an American live-action remake is to transport the story to the U.S. of A. Welcome to “New Manhattan.” Also important to note: the iconic electro-magnetic cycle ridden by main character Kaneda in the original anime (see header above) will also appear in the live-action version. Beyond that, details of the film are still pretty vague at this early stage.

If you haven’t seen the Akira anime, it tells the tale of a futuristic motorcycle gang whose youngest member, Tetsuo, winds up in a government lab after a bad bike accident. When the g-men’s tests unlock massive psychic energies in Tetsuo, the young boy sets out to wreak vengeance on those who mistreated him, even as his new powers spiral grossly out of control.

According to Collider’s sources, if the current draft of the script gets the necessary stamp of approval, the Akira movie could go into production as soon as next year, aimed for a 2011 release date. The film has long been gestating over at WB, with Leonardo Dicaprio’s Appian Way production company also working to develop the project. We recently reported that Gary Whitta (The Book Of Eli) was rumored to have turned in a draft of Akira, but I guess that didn’t pan out.

What do you think – are you betting that a live-action version of Akira finally makes it into theaters? Or is this a project you don’t want to see come to fruition?

Sources: Collider & Slash Film