It’s a greenlight for the long-gestating film adaptation of Japanese anime fave “Akira” with Warners writing up a cheque for $90 million to Jaume Collett-Serra (“Unknown”) to bring the thing home. Variety, who broke the news of Collett-Serra’s good news, also reported that “Tron Legacy” star Garrett Hedlund is the frontrunner for one of the two lead roles, presumably Kaneda (since his name has been linked to the character before). Filming begins 2012.
The trade has the following :
Akira,” long in development at the studio, has hit several speedbumps over the last several months, including Albert Hughes falling off as director. Collet-Serra was brought on quickly, but working out the budget took about two months, with studio execs and creative execs meeting last week before the decision was rendered over the weekend.
Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing with Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar. It’s another big win for Appian Way, which just secrured “Cloverfield” director Matt Reeves to helm its “Twilight Zone” pic at Warners.
WB acquired the potential tentpole project for a seven-figure sum from Japanese manga publisher Kodansha in 2008. Set in New Manhattan, the cyberpunk sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his friend, discovered with potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities, from government medical experimentats.
Katsuhiro Otomo, who wrote and directed the 1988 Japanese anime pic of the same name, will exec produce “Akira.”
Like so many tentpoles seems this one’s had to cut back on it’s budget, and therefore couldn’t afford the likes of Keanu Reeves and Brad Pitt – two names that had been associated with the film in previous months. Not a bad thing by any means, particuarly having seen Hedlund’s fine work in films like “Tron”, “Country Strong” and “Friday Night Lights”.