The live-action film version of the cyberpunk anime film ‘Akira’ has had its budget lowered by Warner Bros. and signed on Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra. The new budget is $90 million. The project is considered as “in development” and has not yet reached the pre-production stage.

The movie follows the exploits of the leader of a biker gang who attempts to save his friend from a government facility in New Manhattan. Scientists at the facility perform experiments on him because he has powerful psychokinetic abilities. If the film remains faithful to the cyberpunk atmosphere of the original, one can expect a level of cyber-cool similar to that of ‘Blade Runner’ or ‘The Matrix’.

In the original anime movie, there is a large amount of gore and violence. Considering the awesome mental powers involved and the repressive nature of the government forces, this amount of violence is consistent with the story being told. If Warner Bros. decides they want a PG-13 rating as opposed to an R rating, the remake is unlikely to please fans of the original film.

Collet-Serra has gained a reputation for directing films that post impressive numbers, such as the identity-theft thriller ‘Unknown’ that stars Liam Neeson. It had a reported production budget of $30 million and ended up with a worldwide gross of more than $130 million. According to Variety, Katsuhiro Otomo — who wrote and directed the original anime film — will be an executive producer for the live-action remake. Variety also reports that Steve Kloves, a scriptwriter involved in WB’s ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, has been involved in polishing a recent draft of the script.