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Things We Saw Today: Taika Waititi Will Direct the New Akira Movie

Plus Chris Hayes, Jameela Jamil, and more!

Akira in Akira, is getting the live-action treatment from taika waititi.

After decades of languishing in development hell, a live-action Akira film is finally becoming a reality. Warner Bros. has tapped Taika Waititi to direct the film, which is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio through his company Appian Way. The film is already off to a strong start, thanks to an $18.5 million tax credit from the California Film Commission to shoot in California.

The movie is based on the iconic manga series by Katsuhiro Otomo, which he then adapted for the 1988 anime film of the same name. Both versions of Akira were massively successful: the manga series was one of the first to be translated into English, bringing the manga craze to the Western world. Likewise, the anime become a massive hit, introducing American audiences to the genre and inspiring countless cyberpunk spin-offs that would follow.

While Hollywood has struggled with adapting manga in the past (namely by casting white people), the timing seems right for Akira. Especially with an innovative director like Waititi, who is also a person of color. The Thor: Ragnarok director has already assured fans that the cast will not be white-washed. In an interview with IGN, he said “Yeah. actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”

While fans have waited a long time for an Akira film, they had little chance of seeing it with an Asian cast before. In 2011, it was rumored that Kristen Stewart, Dane DeHaan, and Garrett Hedlund were attached to star, which is about as white as it gets.

And even if American audiences aren’t intrigued by the film, there is still a massive audience for live-action manga outside the U.S. Alita: Battle Angel made a lukewarm $84 million in the U.S., but worldwide it brought in over $300 million.

What do you think? Will you watch the Akira live-action film?

(via Variety, image: Tokyo Movie Shinsha)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.