At least, that’s what the news going ‘around the intertubes. Of course, news of a live-action remake of Akira has been popping up here and there for years, but this time, the news has more weight to it.
Vulture has learned that Warner Bros. is negotiating to reteam with The Book of Eli’s Hughes brothers to have them direct a live-action remake of the cult favorite Akira, from a script by Iron Man scribes Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. (Akira is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s company, Appian Way, along with Andrew Lazar, who’s also currently producing an adaptation of DC Comics’ Jonah Hex for Warners.)
Now, I haven’t seen anything by the Hughes Brothers, aside from a few bits and pieces of American Pimp that I caught on TV a few years ago. But I’ll tell you now, this simply won’t work.
No offense to the Hughes Brothers, but Akira is a labyrinthine work that is deeply tied to its Japanese roots, culturally and spiritually. Indeed, it’s a story that could only have come from Japan, given that country’s history. There’s almost no way that a Hollywood adaptation wouldn’t essentially rip out a good portion of its heart and soul.
I have no doubt that the film could be a technical marvel, given today’s effects technology, but even with two films, the end result will almost certainly be a convoluted and inert mess of plotlines, characters, conspiracies, and psychic battles. (Of course, some might point out that Katsuhiro Otomo’s animated version was that, too.)