'Akira'

After years of rumors and false starts, Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic manga Akira is finally getting its long-mooted live-action film adaptation, directed by Thor: Ragnarok‘s Taika Waititi and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production house Appian Way. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the film is slated for a May 21 2021 release.

The US remake looks set to depart from the 1988 Japanese anime in a number of ways. An Instagram post shared by Production Weekly showed the new film’s synopsis, revealing that the location has been moved from Neo-Tokyo to Neo-Manhattan. On top of that, one of the film’s leading characters, Kaneda, won’t be a member of a biker gang as in the original, but instead a bar owner. Likewise, Tetsuo — whose telekinetic powers are key to the narrative — will be Kaneda’s brother rather than his best friend.

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Production Weekly – Issue 1138 – Thursday, April 4, 2019 / 161 Listings – 32 Pages https://buff.ly/2TUwX0P⠀ ⠀ 24 HOURS IN JUNE • THE ADVENTURES OF A.R.I. THE ROBOT PET • AFTER LIFE 02 • AKIRA • ALICE + FREDA FOREVER • ALIEN NATION • ALL GONE WRONG • AMÉLIE & COMPANY 04 • AMERICAN DREAMER • AMERICAN SOUL 02 • ANY PERSON LIVING OR DEAD • THE APPRENTICE AND THE CURSE OF THE FANG MADONNA • ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? • AUDREY PARK • BAD MOMS’ MOMS • BARB & STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR • BARBECUE FOR TWO • BEAUTIFUL RUINS • BELLA • BLACK FLIES • BLACK WIDOW (w/t BLUE BAYOU) • BOOMERANG 02 • THE BOYS 02 • BROOKLYN 45 • BURIED BODIES • THE BURN • CAN I BE HONEST • CAPTAIN INFINITY • THE CHILDREN • CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE • CINEMA OF SLEEP • CODA (aka THE BELIER FAMILY) • THE CONJURING 3 • CORONER 02 • CRIME AFTER CRIME • CUTMAN • DANCING STALLION • A DEADLY LEGEND • DEATH OF A LADIES’ MAN • DESERT GUESTS (aka THE GEOLOGIST) • DOUBLE TAKE • THE DROWNED DETECTIVE • DUMMY • DWELLER • EMILY IN PARIS • THE ESTATE • THE ETERNALS • EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE • EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE OKAY • FAST & FURIOUS 9 (aka FAST 9) • FILM FEST • FINDING BAPU • FIVE CARDS FOR CHRISTMAS • THE FIVE POINTS HUSTLE • FOUR DADS • FRANKIE DRAKE 03 • FREE GUY • FRIENDS-IN-LAW • FROM RICHES (aka BROKE) • FRUIT LOOPS • GENIUSES • GENTEFIED • GHOSTBUSTERS (w/t RUST CITY) • GINNY & GEORGIA • THE GOOD PLACE 04 • GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE • HELPLESS • HILLBILLY ELEGY • HUNGRY SAINTS • HUNGRY SAINTS • I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE • INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES (aka RUBY HILL) • INFINITE (aka THE REINCARNATIONIST PAPERS) • INTELLIGENCE • IRRESISTIBLE • JINGLE JANGLE • JL FAMILY RANCH 2 • JOURNAL FOR JORDAN • JUPITER’S LEGACY (w/t ZEUS) • KEYHOLE GARDEN • KING RICHARD • THE LAST DAYS OF MARILYN MONROE • LAST NIGHT IN ROZZIE • LAW & ORDER: SVU 21 • LETTERKENNY 05 • LIFE • LILIAN • LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE • THE LITTLE MERMAID • LITTLE THINGS • LONESOME SOLDIER • LOVECRAFT COUNTRY • MACBETH • MANHUNT: LONE WOLF 02 • MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS • MISTER MAYFAIR • MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM • MRS. AMERICA • MY ROOMMATE'S AN ESCORT 02 • MYSTERY 101: MOVIE 2 – PLAYING DEAD • A NAKED SINGULARITY • ON THE ROCKS • OPEN •

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While the prospect of a Hollywood live-action remake has always been contentious among Akira fans, Otomo appears to have given the project his blessing (of sorts).

In a recent interview, Otomo told Forbes, “When it comes to Akira, I have already finished the original manga and my own anime version, too. So, in that sense, I am basically done with Akira. If someone wants to do something new with Akira then I am mostly okay with that. As I accepted the offer for a live-action Akira to be made, so I am generally okay with whatever they want to do with it. However, I did give one major condition to a live-action version and that is that I had to check and approve the scenario.”

Production of the remake is expected to begin quite soon. For the film to take advantage of an $18.5 million tax credit from California’s latest Film & TV Tax Credit Program, production will need to go ahead within the next six months.

In the meantime, remind yourself of the Japanese OG by watching the trailer below.

Weekend Staff Writer

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.

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