Anime, Film Commentary, Film News

Warner Bros Pulls the Plug On Live-Action Adaptation of Akira

January 6, 2012

As I’ve fervently opined heretofore, the American studio adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s cyberpunk anime classic, Akira, was a fantastically terrible idea, particularly in how the studio was set to dumb down its stirring and cerebral philosophical underpinnings; as well as attenuate its inherently violent aesthetic to better suit mainstream, PG-13-friendly audiences in the Occident.

Imagine my schadenfreude when confirmed news of the adaptation’s demise leaked through the InterWebs yesterday, beginning with Borys Kit’s report via HollywoodReporter.com.

According to Kit’s article:

The project, which has been through several incarnations, is being shut down in the face of casting, script and budget issues. The production offices in Vancouver are being closed, with below-the-line talent and crew told to stop working. “Everybody is being sent home,” according to an insider.

The crew in question included producer Jennifer Davisson Killoran (Appian Way Productions); producer Andrew Lazar (Mad Chance); director Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan, Unknown); and scriptwriter Steve Kloves (Harry Potter).

In fact, before Collet-Serra, Albert Hughes (From Hell, The Book of Eli) was slated to direct the sci-fi blockbuster-to-be, with a budget that exceeded Warner Bros’ expectations.  “The goal [ … ],” wrote Kit, “[was] to bring the budget down to between $60 million and $70 million.”

Forgive the tangent, but:  Why didn’t they ask Robert Rodriguez to take the directorial helm?

Rodriguez has a penchant for producing budget-efficient films that result in high returns.  And, knowing his deep respect for the source material akin to his highly acclaimed adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City, he could have done an exponentially better job of it (I’m sure), at least in lieu of Hughes and Collet-Serra.

Then again, Roberto wouldn’t have been cool with the studio’s PG-13 prerequisite.  It’s the same reason why Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan) is having trouble with the remake of Paul Verhoeven‘s satirically-brilliant RoboCop.

We all saw what happened to Robocop in RoboCop 3, fellas.  Our favorite maverick cyborg was given the PG-13 treatment … and … dare I say it … wings.

Now let’s never speak of RoboCop 3 again.

Lastly, if you haven’t seen it already, don’t miss  ‘s animated 2008 parody of an Americanized version of Akira (too funny for words):

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