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Hollywood Reporter: Live-Action Akira Film's Production Shut Down

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Site: Vancouver offices to close, some staff "told to stop working"

The Hollywood Reporter trade magazine's Heat Vision blog is reporting on Thursday that the live-action film adaptation of Katsuhiro Ōtomo's Akira manga is being shut down because of "casting and budgetary issues." According to the website, the film's production offices in Vancouver will be closed, and "below-the-line" staff (those who work on film's physical production) have been "told to stop working."

The site reports that, according to insiders, if the project's issues cannot be resolved, it "could end up being shelved entirely." Producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar, along with director Jaume Collet-Serra, will work on revising the film's script for the next two weeks. According to the site, Collet-Serra was working on a US$90 million budget for the film, but now needs to cut the budget down to between US$60-US$70 million to keep it going.

Warner Bros. officially green-lit the film for production in October. The Variety entertainment trade magazine project had described the film as a "potential tentpole project," and it was slated to begin production in late February or early March. (A "tentpole" franchise is a property which will, in theory, support a studio financially for much of a particular movie season.)

Variety had reported in July that Warner hired director Collett-Serra (Unknown, Orphan, House of Wax) to direct the film, which was "being reenvisioned as a $90 million" blockbuster project. In May, previous director Albert Hughes left the project due to "creative differences" on the film.

The development team with producer Lazar (Jonah Hex, Space Cowboys, Get Smart) hired a writer named Albert Torres last year, after screenwriters Gary Whitta, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby were previously attached to the project. When the project was originally announced in 2008, it was intended to be the directorial debut for Ireland's Ruairi Robinson. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator) is producing through his Appian Way production company.

This article has a follow-up: Variety: Akira 'Down, Not Out' But New Writer to Polish Script (2012-01-05 21:30)
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