You’ve got to hand it to Warner Bros. – the studio just doesn’t give up. Execs have been pushing on-and-off for a pricey, blockbuster adaptation of Japanese manga series Akira since acquiring the rights back in 2008, and today brings word that the project is back on, with Sons of Anarchy scribe Marco J. Ramirez (who is also the new showrunner on Daredevil) penning a new script.
Akira has been getting close to being made for years, with various directors, producers, writers and actors all circling the pic at various points before falling off. At one point, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter were all in talks for roles, but each and every one of them eventually moved along as Warner Bros. struggled to get a script, director and budget in place. Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop) has stuck with the project for a long while, but he last reported that it was stalled, and with his busy schedule, it’s unclear if he has any time to hold the reins on it.
Originally a hugely popular Japanese manga series by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira was previously adapted into an animated film, also called Akira, that reached cult status. Set in a dystopian future version of Tokyo, it centers on a secret military project that turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psionic psychopath. Now do you understand why Warner Bros. has been struggling a bit?
There’s definitely the potential for a fun, explosive blockbuster in Akira, but the story is complex enough that the who’s who list of screenwriters who’ve been involved makes a lot of sense. Most recently, Edge of Tomorrow‘s Dante Harper took a swing at it, but even that writer couldn’t crack the script, apparently. Perhaps Ramirez will have better luck. Regardless, Warner Bros. has invested so much time in this project that it seems obvious that Akira will eventually get made. Whether it’s any good is a different question entirely.