Our friend Garth Franklin over at Dark Horizons pointed us to an exclusive article posted by Vulture claiming that the Hughes Brothers - who recently helmed The Book of Eli - are currently in talks to direct the big-screen version of Akira.
Warner Bros. is apparently working to partner the Hughes Brothers with Iron Man screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby to finally make the Akira movie a reality - make that a multi-movie reality.
Back in the summer of '09 it was looking like the Akira movie was dead; then in the fall we got word that WB is still developing the movie and that Fergus and Ostby are penning the script. Despite what some cynics have said about the start, stop, start, stop motion of this Akira flick, it seems as though the development of the film is indeed coming along if the studio is looking at directors.
Personally, I'm a BIG fan of the Hughes Brothers. Though I haven't seen Eli yet, I loved From Hell and am totally unabashed about my love for their documentary American Pimp - probably the greatest film about pimps in existence. I've been waiting a long time for these guys to get bigger and better projects tossed their way - and it doesn't get much bigger or better than Akira.
Set in a futuristic city, Akira tells the story of a young biker gang punk who gets imbued with psychic powers in a covert government experiment. The manga and anime by Katsuhiro Otomo is considered a fanboy treasure, and I'm sure said fanboys would tell you there's a lot more depth to the story than what I just described (politics, social order, government corruption, philosophy, etc.). In fact, the depth of Akira is a primary reason why a live-action Hollywood adaptation has been so long coming - that and the SFX required to bring the story to life would be pretty daunting.
Albert and Allen Hughes
The Hughes Brothers, if they do in fact get the job, will have to endure massive amounts of pressure from fans sporting magnetic motorcycle t-shirts (see header image) and such, but I do feel like these are two directors who are up to the task. And it could be a BIG task: Vulture reports that WB is thinking of splitting Akira into two films, with each film covering half of the original storyline from the six-issue manga series.
Official confirmation from Warner Bros. is expected in the next week or so - be sure to check back with us for updates.