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In January 2012 it looked as though the in-development live-action adaptation of Akira had finally kicked the bucket. Warner Bros. fought hard to get the movie made, first enlisting Albert Hughes to direct before hiring Jaume Collet-Serra to replace him, but ultimately it was decided that the film wasn't worth the budget it would need to be done right, and the production was shut down. Now, however, it seems as though we can reclassify the film as a zombie movie, because it appears to be back from the dead. Variety is reporting that WB is now once again in talks with Collet-Serra to have him come back and helm Akira.
As the trade notes in their report, the movie was shut down back in 2012 so that the script could be fixed up and the $90 million budget lowered. Apparently after Collet-Serra left the project the studio began looking for filmmakers who could make the movie on a "smaller scale" with less money - like Paranormal Activity 3 & 4 directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. After a long search they eventually decided that they liked the original plans for the film too much to let them blow away in the wind. WB re-approached Collet-Serra, and he is currently making time in his schedule to make the movie while also working on finding some way to cut the budget.
The Spanish filmmaker, who earned a name for himself with the 2009 horror film Orphan and the 2011 action pic Unknown, has kept busy since dropping off Akira. He has wrapped production on his next feature, the airplane-set thriller Non-Stop starring Liam Neeson, and the project is currently in the editing room being prepped for release on February 28, 2014. In the movie Neeson stars as a veteran Air Marshall who is forced to spring into action when he receives a text message threat that warns him that someone aboard his plane is going to start murdering passengers unless a large ransom is paid. Collet-Serra is also currently in pre-production on the thriller Run All Night, which already has an impressive cast lined up that features Neeson, Joel Kinnaman and Ed Harris. Should he make a deal to sign on for Akira again, he wouldn't roll cameras on the movie until at least next spring.
Another question mark that remains is Garrett Hedlund. The Tron Legacy star has been attached to play the lead role in the movie since November 2011, but it's unknown if he will actually be available whenever Akira does finally get rolling. The trade seems to suggest that if the scheduling does work out, then he will still be the guy. The remake tells the story of the leader of a biker gang who must help rescue his telekinetic/potentially extremely dangerous friend from the hands of the government. The remake will move the setting of the story from Tokyo to Manhattan.
The question that has loomed over this project, though, is why? Many fans of both the original manga and the previous feature film have been quite outspoken about their dislike of this remake. Has anything changed in the last couple years to make this movie sound like a better idea to anyone? What do you think?