Remember back in 2011 when they were talking about making a live action Akira movie that wouldn’t be using Asian actors that fans of the series were worried about? If you do, you most likely had a huge sigh of relief when Warner Brothers shut down the project last year.

I know I did!

It looks like things may have changed as Jaume Collet-Serra (‘Orphan’, ‘The River’) is in talks to return to the director’s chair. He had originally left the project when pre-production had been shut down indefinitely by Warner Brothers to make script changes and to lower the budget of the film down to $90 million.

Now that all of that has been worked out, Collet-Serra believes he has time in his schedule to not only make the film but do it in a way that fits in the lower budget. So it looks like we might be seeing a live action ‘Akira’ after all.

If this does end up happening, it looks like the film would start shooting in the Spring of 2014 with no word if the budget has changed from the $90 million that was last stated.

The destruction of Tokyo

The original manga had ‘Akira’ taking place in Neo-Tokyo 27 years after World War III had destroyed the original Tokyo and a new one rebuilt on an artificial island. With the changes of settings pushed over at the US, we’re going to get a slightly different plot that is loosely based off of the original (assuming the script hasn’t veered too far off course from the original pitch.)

The film still lists Leonardo DiCaprio (‘Inception’) and Jennifer Davisson Killoran (‘Orphan “) as producers with Andrew Lazar (‘Jonah Hex’) and Katsuhiro Otomo (who wrote and directed the original ‘Akira’ anime) on board as executive producers.

Here’s the synopsis of the film:

Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother, Tetsuo, is abducted by government agents led by The Colonel.

Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers.

Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind. Kaneda clashes with The Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan Island, as he did thirty years ago.

The anime based off of the manga was one of my first experiences with the genre. It’s a dark and twisted tale of science fiction, horror, and a bit of steampunk styling (at least in the feel of the motorcycles) to boot. It was an epic story that threw me into the deep end of tracking down anime and manga for years before it became mainstream in the United States and the good stories were overrun by works that don’t fall into the genre’s that I enjoy.

Still, ‘Akira’ will always stand out in my mind as a classic and I’m extremely worried they are going to ruin this classic. What do you think? A live action ‘Akira’ movie set in the States? Will it work or is this a train wreck waiting to happen?

Source: Variety.