After the critical and commercial success of this summer's Mad Max: Fury Road, director George Miller has become one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood. It's no surprise that Warner Bros. was quick to discuss the possibility of directing an upcoming DC Comics film with Miller, but the filmmaker is looking forward to turning his attention to a smaller project that doesn't require a plethora of stunts and special effects.
As it turns out, the DC Expanded Universe wasn't the only film franchise the studio had offered Miller. For years, WH has been trying to get a live action adaptation of the manga Akira off the ground, and WB hoped Miller could be the one to bring that film out of development hell. However, they'll have to keep looking, as Miller revealed he turned that movie down as well.
Speaking with Yahoo Movies UK, Miller said he was open to helming Akira, but had to move on due to a full schedule:
“There was talk of it [the live action ‘Akira’]. But I’ve got so many things on my dance card, I don’t have the time to do everything.”
Miller's reasoning may read as curious to some, since the director has not become officially attached to a film following the latest Mad Max. That said, he still has plenty of things in development. In addition to his aforementioned smaller film, Miller is also keen on putting together a couple of Fury Road sequels in the near future, so it's easy to see why the director felt he doesn't have the time to take on a project the size of Akira.
Nevertheless, fans of the property will still be disappointed Miller passed on the film. For those not in the know, Akira is set in a dystopian city called Neo Tokyo and revolves around rival biker gangs in a plot that involves telekinetic superbeings. One can see how a story set in that world could fit in Miller's wheelhouse, so it will be interesting to see if WB can find someone who's as good of a fit. Recently, it was rumored that Christopher Nolan (who has a mystery film lined up for a 2017 release) was going to be developing a live action Akira trilogy, so the studio remains committed to making the film a reality after years of pre-production struggles.
Also of interest to many cinephiles will be what Miller chooses to direct next. He may not be ready to dive into the universe of DC Comics just yet, but there's a prevailing hope among fans that he has a change of heart down the line. Miller addressed the swirling speculation about him making Man of Steel 2, telling Yahoo Movies UK that he is "definitely interested" in taking that project on due to the rich mythology that comes with the characters:
“I’ve always been interested in mythology. And I think the superhero myth and the superhero stories are basically Greek and Roman mythology revisited in the modern day, so that’s always very interesting. Those things are always in the mix.”
There's no denying that Miller directing a DC film would excite many moviegoers. He showed with Mad Max that he has what it takes to craft a visually breathtaking experience, and Miller also managed (through iconography and minimal dialogue) to inject a surprising amount of heart and substance into the proceedings. The next solo Superman movie also doesn't appear to be a priority for the studio, as WB still needs to find a place to put it and Ben Affleck's standalone Batman vehicle in their slate. It most likely wouldn't be ready until 2018 or 2019 at the earliest, so that would give Miller plenty of time to recharge his batteries and dive into the mythology of Kal-El.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.
We'll bring you more information on Akira as it becomes available.