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Variety: Jaume Collett-Serra to Direct Live-Action Akira Film (Updated)

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Unknown, Orphan director now slated to direct the film after Albert Hughes left in May

The website for the Variety entertainment industry magazine is reporting on Thursday that Warner Bros. has hired director Jaume Collett-Serra (Unknown, Orphan, House of Wax) to direct the live-action version of Katsuhiro Ōtomo's manga and anime film Akira.

Variety also noted that according to "insiders," the film is "being reenvisioned as a $90 million" blockbuster project.

In May, previous director Albert Hughes left the project due to "creative differences" on the film.

Also in May, it was reported that Keanu Reeves had passed on the lead role of Kaneda in the film, and that "most" of the film's staff had been let go.

Screenwriters Gary Whitta, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby were previously attached to the project, but the development team with producer Andrew Lazar (Jonah Hex, Space Cowboys, Get Smart) hired a new writer named Albert Torres. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator) is producing through his Appian Way production company. When the project was originally announced in 2008, it was intended to be the directorial debut for Ireland's Ruairi Robinson. Last year, Hughes told the Japanese movie news site Eiga.com that his next film would be Akira.

In March, an alleged short list of possible cast members, including Justin Timberlake and Robert Pattinson, was posted by movie news site Deadline. While Pattinson himself downplayed the report, Star Trek television actor George Takei promoted petitions against the alleged "white-washing" (casting of only caucasian actors) of the series, whose original characters are Japanese.

Update: More background information added.

[Via Collider.com]

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