Variety: Live-Action Akira Project in Talks for Revival

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Warner in discussions to bring back director Jaume Collet-Serra to stalled project

The entertainment trade magazine Variety reported on Wednesday that director Jaume Collet-Serra is in talks to return to the stalled live-action Akira film project. Variety stated that if he returns, Collet-Serra would direct Warner Brothers' adaptation in Spring 2014, after he finishes the Run All Night film with Liam Neesen, Joel Kinnaman, and Ed Harris.

The New York magazine's Vulture blog reported last year that the live-action Akira project stalled when it was considered by Warner to be too costly at US$90 million. The blog added that the studio's plan was to have Collet-Serra direct another film or films, and then return to the live-action Akira project with a lower budget.

Collet-Serra was tied to other projects, but he wrapped Non-Stop, another film which opens in February with Neesen in the lead role.

If the live-action film project is revived, Akira manga creator and anime director Katsuhiro Otomo will still oversee the project as an executive producer. Producers include Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran with Appian Way and Mad Chance's Andrew Lazar. Garrett Hedlund was originally cast as the film's lead, but it is unknown if he will still star if the project returns.

Variety added that Warner Bros. approached other directors, including Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Catfish), to take over for Collet-Serra after the studio found the project too expensive. However, the news source said that "the studio was still in love with Collet-Serra's vision, and sources say the director found time in his schedule as well as a new way to approach the adaptation that would meet the studio's budget request."

The script was being reworked after the project stalled. One of the screenwriters, Gary Whitta, detailed an earlier draft of the script and casting choices in an interview with film website Collider in May. Variety also described the project's story: "Set in New Manhattan, the cyberpunk sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his friend, discovered with potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities, from government medical experiments."

Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news tip

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