Jaume Collet-Serra says the Akira movie will differ from the manga and anime
The American version of seminal manga/anime AKIRA has been in development for years with everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio, Stephen Norrington, Allen and Albert Hughes, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zac Efron, Morgan Freeman, James Franco, Keanu Reeves, Keira Knightley, and Gary Oldman attached or rumored at some point. As recently as 2012, NON-STOP and ORPHAN director Jaume Collet-Serra was attached to the movie. Even after the fourth shutdown of the project last year, Collet-Serra rejoined the film and it seems like he is sticking with it this time.
Collet-Serra has two films coming this year, both with Liam Neeson. NON-STOP opens on February 28th and RUN ALL NIGHT should open later this year. That means the director could begin working on AKIRA again at any time. Some fans are likely not happy at the prospect of an English-language, live action AKIRA, but Collet-Serra plans to make his film different than either the manga or the iconic anime. How? Check out his comments to Coming Soon:
It's different, because you have to be respectful of the source material. Otomo adapted his own work from a manga into an anime and both things are completely different and genius. The only way to do a live version of AKIRA is to take the spirit and adapt it. It will be as different as the anime was from the manga.
AKIRA is not the easiest film to follow since the plot and characters are all over the place. The sprawling manga is long while the anime is only a couple of hours. Collet-Serra seems to hint in the interview that the live action movie would need to be told over the course of multiple films, but with only one on the horizon, he needs to tell a contained story. What upgrade from the previous versions will be needed to make this happen?
I hope that I can bring strong characters. In the original source material, I don't think the main characters are the protagonists. What I'm hoping is to bring characters...Nobody's interesting. Tetsuo's interesting because weird sh*t happens to him, and Kaneda is so two-dimensional. That's part of the Japanese culture, they never have strong characters. They're used as a way to move the other philosophy forward.
Visually, I love the anime film and it has had a lasting effect on the design and concept of science fiction films since it was released in 1989. Collet-Serra is absolutely right in thinking that he needs to develop the story more to cater to American audiences, but that doesn't mean it needs to be whitewashed, either. There is definitely room for an inspired take on AKIRA; I just hope that Jaume Collet-Serra is the man to do it.
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