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Hollywood doesn't have the greatest track record with making live action adaptations of anime properties, but much like with video games movies, the industry continues to churn them out every now and then in the hopes that one will finally break the trend. For over a decade, Warner Bros has been attempting to get a live action Akira movie off the ground, and last September, it was reported Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi was being eyed to bring the project to life. Seven months later, Waititi is officially attached to Akira, and now he's revealed that rather than remake the 1988 animated movie, he plans on adapting the original manga. Waititi stated:
I haven't really started to get my head around it yet. What I wanted to do was an adaptation of the books, 'cos a lot of people are like, 'Don't touch that film!' and I'm like, 'I'm not remaking the film, I want to go back to the book.' A lot of the people freaking out haven't even read the books, and there are six gigantic books to go through. It's so rich. But Akira is one of my favourite films; my mum took me to see it when I was 13 and it changed my life.
Take Waititi clearly has a lot of love for the Akira saga, but rather than look to the film he grew up on for inspiration, he'll turn to to the main source material, which was published from 1982 to 1990. Six volumes of material is a lot more to work with compared to a movie a little over two hours long, but its also allows Waititi more room to put his own unique stamp on the material for a live action movie. Waititi also isn't interested in following in the footsteps of movies like Ghost in the Shell by whitewashing the cast, as he previously said that he would cast "Asian teenagers" in the main roles and keep Akira tied to its Japanese roots.
All this being said, don't expect Akira to be the next project Taika Waititi will direct. As he mentioned later during his conversation with Dazed Digital, he's heading to Prague to begin work on Jojo Rabbit, which is about a boy growing up during World War II and creates an imaginary friend that is an amalgamation of his father and Adolph Hitler, who Waititi will play. It was also announced a few years back that Waititi is working on a stop-motion movie called Bubbles, starring the chimpanzee of the same name that once belonged to Michael Jackson. Nevertheless, while it may be a while until Taika Waititi finally puts Akira into production (and that's assuming he doesn't end up leaving the project, like so many before him), it sounds like he's already forming ideas on how he wants the cyberpunk tale to look in a live action setting.
CinemaBlend will bring you any major updates concerning Akira as they come in. In the meantime, you can check out Taika Waititi's latest directorial endeavor, Thor: Ragnarok, on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD now, and for those of you wanting to know what movies are coming out later this year, check out our 2018 release schedule.