You don’t have to look too hard on the internet to find talk of a live action Akira remake. Over the years, the world’s most famous Manga has been in the mix for a live action Hollywood remake, with names as diverse as Keanu Reeves and Stephen Norrington have been attached to the project, but to date nothing has come to fruition – with Hollywood seemingly concerned about the backlash for so-called ‘Whitewashing’ of the project.
Recently, any talks of adapting the series have been largely ignored, but that could all change as rumors of Thor: Ragnarok director, Taika Waititi coming on board, begin to gather momentum.
In a recent interview with IGN, Waititi – who did not confirm he was going to be involved with a future project, but did confirm he’d been approached – described his vision for the movie:
“I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books”
He went on to discuss the earlier concerns over whitewashing, and explained that his vision for the movie would not include ‘bankable’ Hollywood stars but instead maintain the indigenous appeal of the source material:
“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. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”
This should come as great news for anyone familiar with Waititi’s earlier work, that relied heavily on so-called untapped youth talent. As did his most recent success story; Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which has since become the most successful New Zealand movie of all time.
For the uninitiated, Akira is the story of Shōtarō Kaneda, leader of a Neo-Tokyo biker gang, whose best buddy Tetsuo Shima, is given otherworldly powers following a motorcycle crash. The book, and later the Katsuhiro Otomo film, was set in an dystopian future, and dealt with themes of social unrest and telekinesis. If it sounds a little ‘big budget’ for the man who brought us films like What We Do in the Shadows, then we only have to look at his upcoming work within the Marvel Universe to see what he is truly capable of.
Until Waititi is officially announced as director of an Akira movie though, we’ll have to get our Taika fix from Thor: Ragnarok, which is released November 3rd, 2017 in 3d, IMAX and IMAX 3D.