It seems Warner Bros live-action take on classic anime Akira is slowly coming together, with the news art director David Scott has joined the design team. The Akira anime was written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, based on the manga he created. Both the anime and manga take place in Neo-Toyko in the dystopian future of 2019, where the leader of teen bike gang has to rescue his friend from the military after he starts to display psychic powers - and everything does south from there.
The movie was a groundbreaking piece of work and helped break anime through to Western audiences. It combined stunning visuals, political commentary, a fleshed out futuristic world and great action. Warner Bros has been trying to make a live-action version for over 15 years, which has gone through filmmakers like George Miller and Jordan Peele, and actors like Kristen Stewart, Gary Oldman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Despite this, all previous attempts eventually collapsed during pre-production due to script and budget concerns.
Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is the latest filmmaker to land the project, though his commitment isn't 100 percent confirmed. That said, there are encouraging signs the movie is finally coming together. Production designer Martin Whist joined the project at the beginning of the year, and now Omega Underground reports that both art director David Scott (Avengers: Infinity War) and special effects supervisor Joel Whist have just joined Akira's design team.
Again, Warner Bros. has yet to confirm Akira is moving forward, but as the outlet points out, it would be very odd for pre-vis work to get underway on the project if a director wasn't attached to oversee it. Waititi is currently working on dark comedy Jojo Rabbit, so maybe once he wraps production on that he'll jump straight into Akira.
A number of live-action movies based on anime have been met with accusations of white-washing in recent years, including Death Note and Ghost In The Shell. The controversy surrounding the latter movie is said to have contributed to the movie's underwhelming box-office. So, if the Akira movie is finally going ahead, producers will likely be wary of causing offense. Waitiki has already commented that if he was casting the movie he would cast Asian teenagers in the lead roles. The director has also said many times he would go back to the manga, instead of adapting the anime. The anime had to chop out big chunks of the story, while the Akira manga tells a much bigger story. It's possible that fans may find out more about the project around Comic-Con International next month.
Source: Omega Underground