Taika Waititi may not may not be a household name, but his latest project ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is pretty much a lock for one of the biggest films of the fall and should open the door for many more high-profile directing jobs, one of which might be the ages-in-discussion live-action version of ‘Akira’.
When asked about it, he doesn’t state that he will be directing ‘Akira’– in fact, it sounds as though he will NOT, mainly referring to it in the past tense. But there is a chance that he could just be deflecting, if he hasn’t quite signed on the dotted line to lens the film, especially if there’s a shot that ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ could boost his asking price.
Discussing ‘Akira’, Waititi said:
“I am — that was more or less a rumor. There was, I mean, I was in talks to do that, for sure, and something that I was very passionate about — am passionate about.”
And what would his approach be to adapting the classic manga/anime?
“I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books. And, yeah, so anyway there’s been some chats [about directing it].”
With the controversies about whitewashing regarding ‘Ghost In The Shell’, ‘Death Note’ and even Marvel Comics’ ‘Iron Fist’ which features a Caucasian blond hero in the source material, it sounds as though Waititi knows better than to try going that route.
“Yeah. actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”
It also sounds as though this would not be a single film, but a series that adapts all six volumes of the original Japanese manga.
Over the years, Steve Norrington (‘Blade’), Irish short film director Ruairí Robinson, Albert and Allen Hughes (‘Menace II Society’, ‘Book of Eli’), George Miller (‘The Road Warrior’, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’), Christopher Nolan (‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy) and Jaume Collet-Serra (‘Run All Night’) have been reported to be attached to direct. Justin Lin was rumored to be in talks recently as was Jordan Peele (‘Get Out’), who reportedly turned it down.
Even more screenwriters have apparently taken a pass at the script, but at least one of these, whose writer is unknown, leaked online infuriating fans over charges of whitewashing, misogyny and overt references to 9/11.
At one point or another, Keanu Reeves, Zac Efron, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Dane DeHaan, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix (all white dudes) have been rumored to be in the running for the lead roles. Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Ken Watanabe were said to be in talks for supporting roles. At least in this case, there are two non-white actors and one is actually Asian.
It sounds as though Waititi’s version– even if it never comes to fruition– is more in line with what fans would prefer to see.
Would you like to see the ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ director take on ‘Akira’?
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ strikes theaters on November 3.