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Jaume Collet-Serra says the Akira movie will differ from the manga and anime

02.10.2014

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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Source: Coming Soon

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3:56AM on 02/12/2014
A Terminator from the future should appear and prevent this movie from ever becoming real.
A Terminator from the future should appear and prevent this movie from ever becoming real.
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9:32AM on 02/11/2014

Let it die already. There is no audience for this crap.

True fans won't see it because its an Hollywood interpretation of a classic anime/manga.

People who have no idea what this is will ignore it because it will be too confusing to them. Try explaining the plot to someone who never saw the anime. Hell, show the anime to someone and see how many viewings it takes to fully understand what the movie was about.

We are going to get a dumbed down version full of horrible kid actors and it is going to bomb. Why can't Hollywood see this?
True fans won't see it because its an Hollywood interpretation of a classic anime/manga.

People who have no idea what this is will ignore it because it will be too confusing to them. Try explaining the plot to someone who never saw the anime. Hell, show the anime to someone and see how many viewings it takes to fully understand what the movie was about.

We are going to get a dumbed down version full of horrible kid actors and it is going to bomb. Why can't Hollywood see this?
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9:00AM on 02/11/2014
i was really hoping this project was dead. this was going to suck when it was trying to be faithful to the source material. now that its in the weeds, theres no hope at all. bury this right next to Tetsuo's bloated corpse
i was really hoping this project was dead. this was going to suck when it was trying to be faithful to the source material. now that its in the weeds, theres no hope at all. bury this right next to Tetsuo's bloated corpse
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+5
2:12AM on 02/11/2014

Face Palm

If they are going to make this film and have it not be like the Legendary anime film we all love, I'm happy with that....
BUT ONLY IF THEY DONT CALL IT AKIRA!!
Why make a live action film, if they are going to change it.. Just because its Anime doesn't mean its not a Classic..
Either Make it properly, or don't touch it at all..

Oh and Shame on you Alex for saying they are right to "develop the story more to cater to American audiences"
If they are going to make this film and have it not be like the Legendary anime film we all love, I'm happy with that....
BUT ONLY IF THEY DONT CALL IT AKIRA!!
Why make a live action film, if they are going to change it.. Just because its Anime doesn't mean its not a Classic..
Either Make it properly, or don't touch it at all..

Oh and Shame on you Alex for saying they are right to "develop the story more to cater to American audiences"
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11:47PM on 02/10/2014

This is not cool.

They should never mess with a masterpiece like Akira.
They should never mess with a masterpiece like Akira.
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10:47PM on 02/10/2014
It worked for Priest and Wanted so well, why not?
It worked for Priest and Wanted so well, why not?
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+4
10:10PM on 02/10/2014
Seriously, when will these Hollywood fucks realize that we don't want to see their 'vision' of a classic story? No giant spiders fighting Superman (and don't make him a killer when you don't have to), no fucking up Spidey's origins so that every bad guy is related to the Parker family in some fashion, and no changing the ending because you were too stupid to follow along and understand it.
Seriously, when will these Hollywood fucks realize that we don't want to see their 'vision' of a classic story? No giant spiders fighting Superman (and don't make him a killer when you don't have to), no fucking up Spidey's origins so that every bad guy is related to the Parker family in some fashion, and no changing the ending because you were too stupid to follow along and understand it.
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8:15PM on 02/10/2014
I thought the project was dead and it should Stay dead.
I thought the project was dead and it should Stay dead.
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7:30PM on 02/10/2014
More Hollywood fuck ups.
More Hollywood fuck ups.
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5:51PM on 02/10/2014
So, essentially a completely different film. Terrific.
So, essentially a completely different film. Terrific.
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+10
5:35PM on 02/10/2014
Well...that sucks. Akira is just one of those films that you leave alone. A live action version can only be worse. Cant even picture it.
Well...that sucks. Akira is just one of those films that you leave alone. A live action version can only be worse. Cant even picture it.
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8:49PM on 02/10/2014
I could picture a live action Japanese version, but then again though that doesn't even need to exist.
I could picture a live action Japanese version, but then again though that doesn't even need to exist.
5:24PM on 02/10/2014

Akira wasn't easy to follow?

It seems pretty straightforward. Also - this is at the top of my list of things that don't need to be adapted to a live-action film.
It seems pretty straightforward. Also - this is at the top of my list of things that don't need to be adapted to a live-action film.
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+8
5:16PM on 02/10/2014
Oh, this bodes REALLY well. Why even adapt it then? Akira is so indicative of the culture of Japan and Tokyo, if you're going to change it, then why even bother? I mean, why even keep the name Akira, since it will likely have nothing to do with Japan OR Neo Tokyo? All of this is just so unnecessary and has disaster written all over it.
Oh, this bodes REALLY well. Why even adapt it then? Akira is so indicative of the culture of Japan and Tokyo, if you're going to change it, then why even bother? I mean, why even keep the name Akira, since it will likely have nothing to do with Japan OR Neo Tokyo? All of this is just so unnecessary and has disaster written all over it.
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1:33AM on 02/11/2014
It's pretty easy to keep the name AKIRA by making the name as an acronym, or retain the character as the only person in the movie that is clearly Japanese by descent. That said, the real challenge for the film makers is how they can make the story relevant to audiences outside of the anime enthusiasts.
It's pretty easy to keep the name AKIRA by making the name as an acronym, or retain the character as the only person in the movie that is clearly Japanese by descent. That said, the real challenge for the film makers is how they can make the story relevant to audiences outside of the anime enthusiasts.
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