For years now, Hollywood has been attempting to tap into one of the last great sources of media to adapt: anime and manga. Recent years have seen the trend finally kick in, as Ghost in the Shell and Death Note movies are on their way. Of course, both of these films have come with plenty of controversy attached, as white stars are often substituted for the traditionally Japanese characters. Elsewhere, Japanese-produced versions of Fullmetal Alchemist and Attack on Titan have emerged in an attempt to buck this trend.
One of the most popular anime of all time, Akira, has been stuck in development hell for years. After years of rumors that Hollywood was trying to make a live-action version of the hit film, it was pronounced dead back in 2009. Since then, every year that's passed has brought news of its revival and subsequent death. Writers like Rogue One's Gary Whitta and Westworld's Jonathan Nolan were attached at various points and concept art even popped up, showing Chris Evans and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead roles. It now (again) appears that Akira is simply one project that will not fall off the rails completely.
The latest episode of Meet the Movie Press claims that two new directors have moved to the front of the queue for hopeful helmers for a live-action Akira. David F. Sandberg and Daniel Espinosa are both said to be frontrunners at this point, suggesting that one of them could wind up walking away with the job. With the likely success of Ghost in the Shell, Hollywood might finally be ready to pull the trigger on Akira. Sandberg is best known for the horror film Lights Out, while Espinosa's sci-fi thriller Life only just debuted in theaters.
With the success of both films, the two directors are hot names in Hollywood at the moment. Sandberg is apparently up to direct the Shazam movie, while it's been reported that Espinosa is actively circling another DC movie project - Suicide Squad 2. While their talents seem like they should switch potential projects, many indie directors nowadays are making seemingly unusual jumps to blockbuster films in different genres and finding success.
Of course, there's no guarantee that either of these filmmakers will actually sign on for Akira. Over the years, we've heard everyone from Christopher Nolan to George Miller were approached about directing the live-action Akira. Just last year, Justin Lin was even said to be up for the gig. It's difficult to tell exactly why Akira is having so much trouble nailing down a director - but for related reasons, it's best to not start holding your breath and waiting for that to change, just yet.
We'll bring you more news on Akira as it emerges.
Source: Meet the Movie Press