New Zealand director Taika Waititi is interested in doing an adaptation of Akira, though so far he is only in talks and has not made a commitment yet.
Warner Bros. has been interested in making a live-action version of the franchise since 2002. It is based on a manga written by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also directed the anime adaptation from 1988. The film is considered a groundbreaking piece of animation and helped popularize anime in the West.
Set in the year 2019 and after World War III, it features a cyberpunk version of “Neo-Tokyo” where the corrupt government hides the existence of psychic children with immense power. Trouble begins when a teenage gangster gets these powers and begins to use them in destructive ways.
Of course, the movie had to make some changes from the long-running manga that it was based on (most notably, the title character’s direct role in the story was actually reduced quite a bit). Waititi says that that leads to some new possibilities for a future film adaptation.
“But, I don’t believe the world needs a remake of the anime,” he said in an interview with Screen Rant. “I think for me it would be, if there’s any real possibility for doing it, I would really just want to look at an adaptation of the books in a new way.”
He also addressed the issue of “whitewashing,” casting Caucasian actors for the parts of Japanese characters. Actors attached to previous attempts at this movie have included Brad Pitt, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Gary Oldman.
“Actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me,” he said, and admitted that that would likely mean getting relatively unknown actors for the roles.
Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok comes out next month.