Director Albert Hughes (one half of writing/directing duo The Hughes Brothers) recently called into The Kevin and Josh Movie Show and talked a bit about his latest project, an adaptation of Akira, one the most celebrated Japanese mangas of all time, and probably the most lauded and famous anime feature film of my generation.
Albert Hughes dropped several tidbits of information, the most noteworthy being that Warner Bros. is mandating that the picture be PG-13, and that he isn’t big on sequels – interesting words, since Akira might be a two-part movie.
Let’s discuss the PG-13 rating first: anyone who has seen the Akira anime or read the manga knows just how ridiculous the notion of an Akira movie being PG-13 is.
This is the story of a violent teen biker gang in a dystopian future controlled by a fascist government, with domestic terrorists (or “freedom fighters”) blowing stuff up and shooting people left and right, religious zealots beating each other down in the streets, and government hit squads executing people at leisure. And this is all before one of the biker teens gets psychic powers and starts making explode a la Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.
So how is any of that PG-13?
On the other hand, a movie about the socio-political-economic unraveling of a futuristic dystopia, combined with a sci-fi story about psychic powers gone awry, is not exactly an easy sell as far as movies go. You gotta figure that the 18-30 boys club is the primary audience that will be turning out for this film, but securing the teenage crowd with the lowered rating is probably a good bit of insurance. Financing a movie like this is not going to be cheap.
As for Albert Hughes’ other statement about sequels – I don’t think a two-part movie qualifies as a sequel, so I would expect The Hughes Brothers would complete the entire project before jumping out of the director’s chair(s). If they only helmed the first part, that would be extremely weird. As it stands, I’m beginning to wonder if the studio’s mandates haven’t already killed the Brothers’ enthusiam for the project.
Listen to the audio interview from The Kevin and Josh Movie Show and determine for yourself how enthused (or not) Albert Hughes sounds. Personally, I’ve always been wary of an Americanized live-action version of Akira. The subject matter, the rich texture and visuals of the anime – even the title “Akira” – convey some distinctly Japanese influences and themes that, if stripped out of an American version, would leave Akira a vapid and hollow shells of itself. But that’s just me.
What do you guys think about a PG-13 Akira? Was it the right move for The Hughes Brothers to direct, or should someone else have taken the directors chair. Will this film make it to the theater? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter (@screenrant).
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