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“Akira” lands new director, but is live-action still the best course?


By G. Clay Whittaker
Hollywoodnews.com: “Akira” lives to see another director. After premature project death rumors circulated last week, the adaptation of the ‘80s animation is back on track.

Jaume Collet-Serra is now slated to direct Warner Bros. adaptation of the 1988 animated film “Akira,” Variety has confirmed. Collet-Serra was the directorial force between “Unknown,” “Orphan” and “House of Wax.” He is currently developing a project about a Scotland Yard detective who searches for Dracula.

That’s good news, because “Akira” has had some serious bumps in the road. Albert Hughes (“From Hell”) was initially tasked to direct the flick, and after he parted ways with it, Mark and Michael Polish said no to the second offer. Keanu Reeves also turned down the lead role, leaving the project faceless and swimming in circles.

But with a reduced $90 million budget and some serious talent on the bill, it’s now back on track. The most recent set of eyes on the script is Steve Kloves, who just finished up a modest decade worth of “Harry Potter” films and is also signing off on “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

The film is rumored to be taking an American slant on the original story, which followed a psychic-powered motorcyclist through post-apocalyptic Tokyo.

It’s probably a good thing that “Akira” hasn’t been shelved, because now is the time to do it if it’s ever going to happen. Time magazine announced “Akira” as number 17 on their 25 all-time best animated films. No, that doesn’t mean Pixar should plan a “WALL-E” adaptation featuring a live-action trash compactor and a cockroach, but it certainly should mean better attention for this promising concept.

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