During a recent interview with news outlet Dazed, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi has confirmed that he is still working on the upcoming Hollywood live-action adaptation of Akira. The question was asked as part of a call back to nostalgia, where Ruban Nielson (also being interviewed at the time as part of a dual interview) mentioned the directors work on the upcoming film. The answer somewhat sidestepped the question, though it did give readers an idea that the film is very much still something that could happen.
I haven’t really started to get my head around it yet. What I wanted to do was an adaptation of the books, ’cos a lot of people are like, ‘Don’t touch that film!’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not remaking the film, I want to go back to the book.’ A lot of the people freaking out haven’t even read the books, and there are six gigantic books to go through. It’s so rich. But (the anime) Akira is one of my favourite films; my mum took me to see it when I was 13 and it changed my life.
Perhaps most interesting — and the point that was most clearly being made by Taika — is that the live-action version of the film will be an adaptation of the original manga rather than the 1988 animated film. This is something we’ve known for quite some time, though it’s clear that Taika Waititi has no plans to change this stance. What’s most interesting about this, however, is that the creative freedom to tell the Akira story will be greatly expanded, as opposed to an adaptation of the already-incredible anime film.
It had been noted in a 2017 interview with Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo that his one major condition for the creation of a live-action adaptation of his work would be that he needed to approve the film’s scenario. What this in turn means is that for the film to be released, it’ll need to be deemed worthy story-wise, partially ensuring the products “authenticity” to the original creator’s views. What comes of the film remains to be seen, and I’m sure it’ll be a while before we do see anything, especially with Taika Waititi confirming he’s currently working on another film before anything else.
Let’s just hope this one’s a good one because Hollywood seriously needs a good adaptation of a Japanese anime property.