The long-gestating live-action Hollywood adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s iconic six-book manga and 1988 anime film “Akira” was looking all set to go earlier this year… until it wasn’t.
Set in the wake of the third World War, the story follows the leader of a biker gang as he tries to save his friend from a medical experiment. The project has been in the works for a decade or so with the likes of Jaume Collet-Serra (“The Shallows”), Jordan Peele (“Us”), Justin Lin (“Fast Five”), Daniel Espinosa (“Life”) and David Sandberg (“Shazam”) all attached at one point or another.
Beloved Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi then came onboard and was slated to direct, and with his arrival the project seemed to shift back to being less of a westernised interpretation of the property and something much more true to the original manga’s setting, racial make-up and tone. In April the film received a nearly $20 million tax credit from the California Film Commission, that kind of incentive seemed to make the film’s production a sure thing.
However in July the project stalled when Marvel Studios unveiled its line-up and Waititi was confirmed to be directing “Thor: Love and Thunder” throughout much of late 2020 and into 2021. Shortly after Waititi also confirmed he’s shooting a smaller film, “Next Goal Wins,” in the next few months before the fourth “Thor”.
So it was looking like the project had become stuck in the mud again and Warners would probably lose Waititi and get someone else in quick to take advantage of that tax credit. That’s not the case Waititi confirmed this week whilst out on the press circuit for “Jojo Rabbit,” reaffirming to IGN his commitment to directing “Akira” even if it takes longer than expected:
“Unfortunately, the timing with Akira, because we’ve been working really hard on the script, we had to keep pushing the start date for the shoot. We ended up having to push it a couple weeks too far, which actually ate into the ‘Thor’ schedule, because they were very close together.
And that got pushed again and again, and it just got too far into the ‘Thor’ schedule to be able to make it work. And my first commitment was to Marvel to make that film, so now I’ve kind of had to take ‘Akira’ and sort of shift it around to the tail-end of ‘Thor’ and move it down a couple of years.”
Waititi is now presently working out the next “Thor” story with Marvel presently considering whether or not Thor should keep his ‘fuller figure’ from “Avengers: Endgame” in “Thor: Love and Thunder”.