Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of the original “Akira” manga, has confirmed in a recent interview that the long-gestating live-action “Akira” remake can be shut down if he doesn’t approve.
The likes of Jordan Peele, Daniel Espinosa and David F. Sandberg have been attached in recent years, but all have dropped out of talks. The project has effectively hit an impasse for the moment, and the failure of the recent “Ghost in the Shell” movie has likely only slowed things down further.
Otomo discussed his creative control over the property going forward and tells Forbes:
“While I haven’t seen the new live-action ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ when it comes to ‘Akira’ I have already finished the original manga and my own anime version, too. So in that sense, I am basically done with ‘Akira’.
If someone wants to do something new with ‘Akira’ then I am mostly okay with that. As I accepted the offer for a live-action ‘Akira’ to be made, so I am generally okay with whatever they want to do with it. However, I did give one major condition to a live-action version and that is that I had to check and approve the scenario.
As always, the fundamental question on adapting anything is whether you follow the host work strictly or do something new with it, that is a never-ending discussion I think. This is especially true for film-based adaptations from novels, as the reader has to use their own imagination to bring it to life.
Readers inherently have their own interpretation. That often means a movie’s production has more creative freedom. That said, with things like manga it means the story already comes with very specific visuals. That makes it much harder for a film’s production to go their own way with it.
Personally, I think being entirely bound to the original manga of something like Akira would not make any sense as a movie. As for what I would do in terms of adapting Akira into my own live-action movie, I really don’t want to do that. I would much rather do something entirely new and separate.”
In other words Otomo effectively has script approval. The original manga marks its 35th anniversary this year with a boxset due out later this year.