Taika Waititi's live-action adaptation of Akira will reportedly begin filming this July. A live-action film based on the well-known anime has been in development for several years (as far back as 2011) and has seen directors such as George Miller, Christopher Nolan, Justin Lin, and Jordan Peele either be rumored to helm or pass on the project. Eventually, Akira landed in the lap of Waititi, who initially entered talks in September 2017, a couple months before his Thor: Ragnarok became one of the most critically-acclaimed blockbusters of the year.
Since then, Akira has remained in development while Waititi worked on other endeavors such as his World War II anti-hate satire Jojo Rabbit (hitting theaters this October) and an episode for The Mandalorian on Disney+. Recently, things started to pick up on the Akira front, with the film receiving a California tax incentive and getting a synopsis revealing key differences from the anime. Now, it appears as if it's all systems go and cameras will begin rolling soon.
According to Discussing Film, Akira will start production in July. In addition to directing, Waititi is said to be co-writing the screenplay with Michael Golamco. Casting is also underway. Screen Rant reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.
Traditionally, anime adaptations have proven to be a tough nut for Hollywood to crack, as evidenced by recent examples like Ghost in the Shell. But if anyone is going to break this perceived curse, Waititi is as good a choice as any. Over the course of his career, he's earned a sizable and passionate following due to his ability to tell creative stories that pack an emotional punch. And on Ragnarok, he showed that it's possible to blend his unique sensibilities with genre fare, so he wouldn't be out of his element directing Akira. As a matter of fact, he's a fan of the property and has talked in the past about his desire to put a new spin on the comic book source material. Most importantly, Waititi wants to cast Asian teenagers for the primary roles, which would mean Akira won't fall victim to a whitewashing controversy.
If Akira is indeed going to start filming in a couple of months (as of this writing), it means plenty of updates about the film are right around the corner. In particular, it'll be interesting to see who Waititi gets to star in the movie, as he previously expressed a desire to populate the ensemble with unknowns. Regardless, after many starts and stops, it looks like Akira is finally off the ground.
Source: Discussing Film