The live-action adaptation of the legendary manga and anime property Akira has had one of the rockiest roads to the big screen of any movie I can remember. There is a lot of disagreement out there about what a Hollywood version of Akira should look like, but I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that nothing Warner Bros. has tried to do with the property so far has come close to hitting the mark. Back when Albert Hughes was still going to direct the project there were fan gripes about the film being forced into a PG-13 rating, after Hughes left the project everyone was left to complain about a new director and a slashed budget, and I don’t think anybody has been thrilled with any of the casting that has been done.
But, finally, the time for tears may be over. Heat Vision is reporting that a stop has been put to all work on the project. Offices are closing, talent is being sent home, and the whole thing is being re-thought. Director Jaume Collet-Serra and producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar will spend the next couple weeks ironing out issues with the script and trying to once again cut the budget, this time from the $90m range down to the $60 or $70m range, so that deals can be made with more actors. As of now, Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) is the only name that they’ve been able to secure, with actors like Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe, and Helena Bonham Carter still in deal-making limbo.
If such lofty goals are not met over the course of the next few weeks, there is a chance that the entire project could be cancelled indefinitely. And, let’s be honest here, that’s got to be the end point that we’re all rooting for. This thing has been compromised from the start, whether monetarily, content-wise, as far as the creators behind the scenes go, or even when looking at the actors they’ve signed. Instead of trying to continually piece a broken project back together with duct tape and glue, it would probably be better to put the Akira source material back on the shelf and try to revisit it at a later date when doing the whole thing right might be more feasible. With the team they have in place now, and the approach they’ve been taking to the material, the whole thing has always just felt like a disaster. Why burn so many calories trying to push a potential flop into theaters?
That’s just my whole take on the situation though, and I definitely can’t count myself among the Akira fanatics. Is there anybody out there still rooting for this project to happen with this script and these people involved?