I’m going to say straight off that everything you hear about the supposed Hollywood adaption of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The movie has been in what they call ‘development hell’ for more than 10 years. That said, with the recent release of James Cameron’s LONG time passion project Alita Battle Angel, 2017’s Ghost In The Shell, and Death Note, not to mention Netflix moving forward with some kind of live-action Cowboy Bebop, anything can happen. The California Film Commission has, apparently, announced recently that Akira will film in its entirety within California. The makers of the film will receive a cool $18 million tax break for doing so.
Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi has long been rumored to direct the project. Leonardo DiCaprio was announced early on in some kind of producer role. However, upon hearing this news, Gizmodo reached out to Warner Bros. who are supposedly financing the film, for comment to which they reported that Akira had yet to officially be greenlit. However, to receive that tax credit the film needs to start shooting within 100 days. We very may well hear a big announcement soon. Like Alita Battle Angel and Ghost In The Shell, Akira could go from being dead in the water for years to being fast-tracked. Hollywood, folks.
Years ago, those in charge of the project announced Akira would be sanitized. Taking place in New Manhattan, opposed to the classic setting of Neo Tokyo, and as of 2017, it seems like they’re still rolling with that approach. The film was greenlit officially back in 2011 but was shelved less than a year later, with occasional rumblings being made since then. Many people would rather not see Hollywood get their hands on another anime classic and shred it to pieces, but if the film takes queues from Alita Battle Angel, it might not be the worst.
Nothing’s official as of now, but if Akira starts filming soon, it’ll save a big chunk of change. Who can say what Hollywood will choose to do.