It feels like a young tentpole filmmaker rite of passage to circle Warner Bros’ seemingly never-ending quest to make a live-action version of Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume graphic novel, Akira (which already saw a near perfect animated film of the same name crafted by its creator in ‘88). Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows) and The Hughes Brothers (Menace II Society) are just a few who have circled the project and left without taking the seemingly impossible task of bringing Tetsuo and Kaneda’s roaring bikes to life with actual actors sitting atop them.
Well, it looks like Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi is entering talks to helm the American adaptation for Warner Bros. No deal is done as of yet, but the thought of Waititi bringing his poppy, bright visual style to the project is rather appealing, no matter how bad of an idea a live-action Akira may seem on even the most basic level.
Waititi still has JoJo Rabbit – a WWII dramedy – set up at Fox Searchlight to shoot in the spring. He’s also committed to making Bubbles – the stop-motion animated movie about Michael Jackson’s pet chimp – with Mark Gustafson. So, if this does happen, it may not be for a few years. Still, it’d be pretty sweet to have a person of color helming Akira, as it’d be a great signifier that we may not receive a whitewashed adaptation (Waititi was very adamant about hiring Maori film workers for Ragnarok). We’ll just have to wait and see what (if anything) comes of these discussions.