Oscar-winner Taika Waititi has solidified himself as one of the most brilliant and high-demand writer/directors in the industry right now. With such great power comes great responsibility, since there are so many projects that he’s attached to, the most important being the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder and a live-action adaptation of the Akira manga.
However, in his chat with Variety, it seems as if the latter may not be happening with Waititi still attached.
After his Oscar win, the well-dressed creative spoke with Kate Aurthur about how he created Jojo Rabbit and future projects, which then brought the subject to Akira:
What’s happening with the live-action remake of “Akira”?
The whole thing went on hold. We had to keep pushing the dates, and it encroached on the “Thor” dates, which were immovable. So “Akira” ended up shifting two years down the track.
Post-“Thor.” So I’m not sure if even in two years I’d be — I don’t know what I’m doing in f—ing two days.
It may not happen, you mean?
I think eventually it will happen. I’m just not sure if I’ll be doing it.
As someone who has quickly become an Akira stan and is slowly making it through the manga, I was really excited about Waititi being attached to the film, because it would be amazing to see an Indigenous person tackle this story. I especially had faith that Waititi would bring in unknown Japanese and Asian talent, without feeling the need to Americanize the source material for audiences, something that was important to me as both a fan of the anime, but also a fan of storytelling. Not to mention, Waititi said that his adaptation would be more based on the manga than the ’80s anime adaptation.
Both the anime and the manga have the same writer, Katsuhiro Otomo, but the film condenses the story of what is essentially the first three volumes of the manga. It simplifies some of the characters, cuts many plot points, and the character Akira barely has a role in the narrative. The manga is six volumes long (over 2,000 pages long), a lot darker, and has a lot of interesting relationships that would be interesting to see brought to the big screen.
At the same time, an Akira live-action movie is and has always been unnecessary. The existing film stands on its own, and the manga, while less known by the general audience, is still popular in nerd circles. Even with the most talented of directors, I just don’t know how someone could bring the story to life better than it already was. It’s not just the animation, but the soundtrack as well, that was personalized to the film. Everything about Akira felt new and intentional. Even the best remake/reimagining will not make it new.
Plus—considering that the actors who have been offered roles for a live-action Akira in the past allegedly include Keanu Reeves, Andrew Garfield, Robert Pattinson, Michael Fassbender, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix—I’m Taika or bust.
(via Variety, image: Tokyo Movie Shinsha)
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