Talk of a new version of Akira, the 1988 anime film from Katsuhiro Otomo that became supremely popular, has been the topic of rumors for years. There was first supposed to be a live-action film remake sometime in the early 1990s, but that never happened for various reasons. Sony Pictures was signed on, but producers ran into trouble when they kept figuring that the film’s budget would probably go upwards of $300 million, which was too much for them.

Talk started up again in the early 2000s, but nothing really came of it…until now. As this article discusses, Warner Brothers has signed on to produce the film, and now talks are back on. Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, screenwriters who actually did some writing for the smash-hit film Iron Man a year or so ago, are signed on to write the script for this new version of Akira.

Akira, of course, is originally set in 2019 in “Neo-Tokyo”. The American filmmakers behind this new version of the film wish to change the setting to a sort of “Neo-Manhattan”, which is pretty interesting. I’m sure changing the setting will anger some long-time Akira fans, but it probably has to be done if they really want the film to succeed with US audiences.

If this draft of the script is accepted, they will presumably start production next year, with a tentative release somewhere in 2011. Stay tuned.

What do you think? Do you think they should be making a live-action version of Akira? Will it do justice to the manga and original anime film, or should they just leave it alone?

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