Jordan Peele Says He’s Glad He Turned Down ‘Akira’ Remake

Jordan Peele Says He’s Glad He Turned Down ‘Akira’ Remake

Though it’s been more than thirty years since the release of Katsuhiro Otomo’s groundbreaking anime film Akira, a Hollywood live-action remake is still in development. Among the many filmmakers who’ve been involved with the on-again-off-again project over the decades include Leonardo di Caprio, Keanu Reeves, the Hughes Brothers, Steve Norrington, Pitolf, Ruairi Robinson, Albert Hughes, Taika Waititi, Jaume Collet-Serra, Justin Lin, Daniel Espinosa, and David Sandberg.

It’s widely believed that the process has been a slow one because of Otomo’s insistence that any live-action version of Akira needed his full blessing. Sony had originally owned the rights to the remake, but Warner Brothers Pictures took over in the early 2000s.

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Jordan Peele was initially courted by Warner to take on the venture after his success with Get Out, but he turned down the offer and instead went on to make Us. It’s a decision he has not regretted, Peele recently told the Happy Sad Confused podcast, declaring: “It’s a project I’m so passionate about. I’m glad I didn’t do it because I feel like… staying away from that, trying to interpret that IP just set me on the path to create something new.

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But I want to see Neo-Tokyo. I want to see an all-Japanese cast. I want to feel immersed in the world, the way of the films in the manga.
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Set in an apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo after World War III, Akira narrates the adventures of a bike-gang leader as he tries to prevent a friend from being the subject of a medical experiment. Released in 1988, Akira was responsible for helping popularize the anime and manga genres in the US and Europe, and for influencing Western directors, including Joel Crawford of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. The soundtrack incorporated elements from both Indonesian gamelan and traditional Noh theater music, which had been largely unfamiliar to many of the film’s non-Asian viewers.

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