Akira film is happening, but not as we knew it
I had thought that the proposed live action version of Akira was dead, but it looks like it isn't, well it's perhaps dead as we know it for the news today seems to have changed the expectations for the film version and not for the better.
A director has been chosen and it seems the budget slashed, and that was little surprise as we knew there were budgetary concerns from the beginning. However what I don't understand is why the project hasn't attracted a major director.
Perhaps it isn't that the project hasn't attracted a major director, rather the project was attracted by the director that it has now? Maybe there's a reason for that. Well there's perhaps one very clear reason, the film Unknown.
The Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra, House of Wax, Orphan and Unknown, is the man to pick up the task of directing the live action Akira, and while you might think it's because of the style and relentless pace of Unknown, which might not have wholly worked as a thriller but did deliver plenty of action, it seems that the real reason may well be budget.
According to the Variety story through Quiet Earth, the director was chosen for delivering films that have been growing in reputation and success film to film, but also films that are delivered relatively cheaply with a high return.
Okay, but those weren't Akira. No offence intended, but those weren't films that called for the level of effects that Akira will, so it's hard to base decisions solely on those credentials. I think there will be much more to it than that, I'm sure of it, and talent will have played a huge part. The studio and producers will already have carefully checked if the director can handle a project of this scope and size and that they are confident he'll deliver.
Of course the other side is that the budget has been slashed, and that would bring down the costs for everything, from salaries to the money available for the scale and effects. Perhaps they need someone who can reduce the scale and work within those tight confines.
That said, I still could easily see this getting the big budget treatment with a huge director and a large effects house working constantly on it from the beginning, and really I think that's what this film needs.
Unfortunately, the studio doesn't have the cash for that. What we're going to see with this live action Akira is a toned down version, pared back from the Akira we can imagine from the Manga that has come before.
For the rest of the production all that we really know is that there is a script that has two major drafts to it, one from the writer Steve Kloves from the Harry Potter series.
The question will be if they can adapt the story well enough to fit into the smaller budget.