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HomeNewsTaika Waititi Reportedly Focusing on His Live-Action AKIRA Film Project

Taika Waititi Reportedly Focusing on His Live-Action AKIRA Film Project

Taika Waititi may finally be bringing the long-awaited live-action Akira movie to a screen near you. The news was broken this week by Justin Kroll of Deadline, who tweeted that the project will still need to pass final approval protocols before it can go into production, however. But there seems to be reason for optimism this time around.

Akira is based on Katsuhiro Otomo’s iconic manga series from 1982, which became an anime film in 1988 and helped popularize manga in the United States. Concerns have been raised, however, whether a new live-action adaptation would remain faithful to the cultural nuances in Otomo’s narrative, which is based on the anomie and nihilism experienced by young people in post-WWII Japan and the decades that followed. Some manga purists frown upon, for example, the use of Caucasian actors in such adaptations.

Taika Waititi is the professional name of Taika David Cohen, a New Zealand-born filmmaker who won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2019 black comedy Jojo Rabbit. In 2022, he was listed by Time magazine in its compilation of the 100 most influential people in the world
Waititi first got involved with the live-action Akira project in 2017, working toward a planned release in May of 2021. But Akira was pushed to the back burner so Waititi could finish up Thor: Love and Thunder, his sequel to Thor: Ragnarok for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Then it got removed altogether from the Warner Bros. schedule of upcoming releases.

But delays in the Akira project predate Waititi by at least a quarter century. Sony had hoped to do a live-action movie back in the 1990s but was frustrated over budgetary issues. Warner Bros. acquired rights to the story in 2002 and originally hoped it would be directed by Blade’s Stephen Norrington using a script by James Robinson of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. After Norrington pulled out of the project, Warner Bros. was hoping to resuscitate it with new blood, including screenwriter Gary Whitta and directors Jaume Collet-Serra, George Miller, and Jordan Peele, but nothing materialized.

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Edward Moran
Edward Moran
Edward Moran began his journalistic career many decades ago as a theater and cinema reviewer for Show Business and the New York Theater Review. More recently he contributed film reviews to and Movie Sleuth. His writings have appeared in publications as diverse as the Times Literary Supplement, Publishers Weekly, the Paris Review, and the Massachusetts Review. Moran also edited a memoir by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Christine Choy. He served as literary advisor to her film Hyam Plutzik: American Poet, which was the keynote film in the American Perspectives series at the 2007 Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.


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