Thor: Ragnarok Film Director Waititi Wants to Adapt Akira Manga With Asian Actors
Director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) commented in an interview with media news website IGN on Tuesday about reports of him negotiating to direct Warner Brothers‘ live-action Akira film project. Waititi did not confirm if he has signed on to direct the project, but said that he was “very passionate” about Akira.
He said that he would not be interested in remaking the 1988 Katsuhiro Otomo film, but would be interested in “do[ing] an adaptation of the books,” referring to Otomo’s original six-volume manga. Regarding casting, he said, “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.”
Both the recent live-action Ghost in the Shell film and Death Note Netflix movie have drawn criticism for alleged whitewashed casting.
Deadline described the project’s story as taking place “in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.” Deadline also describes the project as spanning two films, with each film tackling three volumes Katsuhiro Otomo‘s original manga. Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar is producing the film alongside film Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson’s Appian Way Productions.
Jeff Sneider, editor-in-chief of The Tracking Board website, reported in March that Warner Brothers was in talks to purusue Jordan Peele (Get Out) as the film’s director. Sneider also reported that Warner Brothers had also met with Daniel Espinosa (Life) and David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) as possible directors. Peele later explained that he would rather work on original content than adapt pre-existing material.
In June 2016, Sneider reported that Warner Brothers was pursuing Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Star Trek Beyond), though he emphasized at the time that the news was not confirmed.
Mad Max film series director George Miller said in October 2015 that he had turned down an offer to work on the project.
In October 2011, Warner officially green-lit the film for director Jaume Collett-Serra (Unknown, Orphan, House of Wax). However, The Hollywood Reporter then posted that production had shut down in January 2012, before filming would have started. Warner had stalled the project to revise the script so it would be less costly. Collett-Serra said in February 2014 that he was still working on the project, but he then told the Collider website that there was no progress on the project as of March 2015.