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Creepy Masaru concept art from the live-action Akira film

Aug. 29, 2013by: Niki Stephens

When I first saw AKIRA I was unaffected in my younger days at the sight of The Espers. It's not enough that they are aged significantly, they also have these very sweet and eerie voices. I felt, and still feel nothing but compassion for them. Their faces torn in horror and sadness. It's hard to shake that image out of your head.

While I never thought it was impossible to adapt AKIRA for the big screen I did think that after the Hollywood polish it still wouldn't measure up. This movie has elements that are perfectly captured with the animation and hard to imagine seeing beyond that. As of now the fate of the film is in limbo even though there are reports that it will begin production with director Jaume Collet-Serra in 2014. I'm at the point that I'll believe it when there's actual movement on it.

Until then, we have these pieces of concept art from Howard Lau (I, ROBOT) via Film Sketchr. Here you will see some tests on the face for Masaru who is sort of the ringleader so to speak out of the three.

Here's a little background on The Espers:

The Espers came together when Takashi, Masaru, and Kiyoko developed psychic powers and were taken to the Nursery with the original intention to develop their potential for political purposes. They met and befriended each other and Akira, but were left behind under the care of Colonel Shikishima and the scientists when Akira transcended to a godlike existence and destroyed the original Tokyo in the process. To prevent a future psychic explosion, the Espers were fed drugs to inhibit their developing powers, with the side effects of suffering physical impairments - Kiyoko eventually became bedridden and Masaru was afflicted with polio. The drugs also inhibited their physical growth but they aged along with everyone else, appearing in the early 40's.

Here's the synopsis they were going with: Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother, Tetsuo, is abducted by government agents led by The Colonel. Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers. Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuoís mind. Kaneda clashes with The Colonelís troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island, as he did thirty years ago.

AKIRA was set to star Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe, Helena Bonham Carter, and either Michael Pitt or Dane DeHaan as Tetsuo.

Source: Film SketchrCBM

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4:10AM on 08/30/2013
Is that... is that Leonardo DiCaprio in 'J. Edgar'?
Is that... is that Leonardo DiCaprio in 'J. Edgar'?
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4:04AM on 08/30/2013
Akira should not be white washed and it should be based upon the graphic novel!
Akira should not be white washed and it should be based upon the graphic novel!
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2:59AM on 08/30/2013

my gods did they even read the manga or watch anime?

bar owners and kidnappings? wtf?
you know i have no problem with westernising an anime as long as they keep true to the source material, this is so different they could change the names and no one would no what the hell they where watching. in my opinion they should keep it in tokyo and have cast of japanese make kaneda and tetsuo american orphans as this would further strengthen their relationship and create an easier sense of alienation with the rest of the film. i don't care if everyone
bar owners and kidnappings? wtf?
you know i have no problem with westernising an anime as long as they keep true to the source material, this is so different they could change the names and no one would no what the hell they where watching. in my opinion they should keep it in tokyo and have cast of japanese make kaneda and tetsuo american orphans as this would further strengthen their relationship and create an easier sense of alienation with the rest of the film. i don't care if everyone speaks english in the movie, eventually that language is going to swallow the world anyway. keep the drugs and violence and expand the story so it like the manga and not the anime. this would allow more western characters to appear like they do in the manga. and for gods sake make it an R rating and not PG.
but god almighty in his heaven that synopsis is crap..
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12:36AM on 08/30/2013
Let it go Warner Bros. You're going to piss off a lot of people. Not just fans, but people in general.
Let it go Warner Bros. You're going to piss off a lot of people. Not just fans, but people in general.
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7:59PM on 08/29/2013
If anyone is going to remake this in live-action, can it please be a completely Japanese production?

I feel that most people's issue with American Akira, is they're essentially white-washing the story and using 9/11 as the catalyst for what brings about Neo-Tokyo/Manhattan. They're trying so hard to make Americans seem interested, yet they're alienating the original's primary audience; the ones responsible for making it the cult hit we see it as now today. I don't think most Americans really
If anyone is going to remake this in live-action, can it please be a completely Japanese production?

I feel that most people's issue with American Akira, is they're essentially white-washing the story and using 9/11 as the catalyst for what brings about Neo-Tokyo/Manhattan. They're trying so hard to make Americans seem interested, yet they're alienating the original's primary audience; the ones responsible for making it the cult hit we see it as now today. I don't think most Americans really care about the movie, if it looks like another high-budget scifi tentpole, of which there are becoming too much of nowadays. Infusing American ideology and propaganda into the mix won't make for an interesting story, instead it'll just sound lazy and uninspired, evoking the same criticisms of which Pacific Rim was guilty of earlier this summer.

I realize that most people have been bitching about this film for too long now, though with the amount of grief its heralded, maybe it's something that should stay dead and buried in the ground.
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