After all the will-they, won't-they drama surrounding the Akira live-action remake, it looks like Warner Bros. is still intent on bringing it to the big screen. The rumors about a remake have been flying for what feels like almost a decade now; Leo DiCaprio was originally intent on starring, then one half of the Hughes Brothers was going to tackle it, and now WB has a new director for the project: one Jaume Collet-Serra.
You've probably never heard the name before, as he's not exactly an over-the-title talent, but you've probably seen some of his films, which include the underwhelming Unknown from earlier this year, the entertainingly ridiculous Orphan, and the House Of Wax remake, about which the less said the better. The budget is reportedly pegged at $90 million, which is relatively affordable by tentpole standards, and I suppose you could get away with making Neo New York using Sucker Punch/300 technology and keep it fairly cheap. Still, if the rumors are true about WB insisting on a PG-13 rating for this, look for it to be significantly toned down from the anime, let alone the manga.
I still confess to being puzzled by all this remake news; Akira is up there in the ranks of "anime films that people who don't like anime will admit to having watched," but it's still a relatively unknown property in America. I suppose the plot is interesting enough to put butts in seats, especially if it's paired up with decent special effects, but it'll be hard to top the no-holds-barred rawness and weirdness of the original film. Still, stranger things have happened.