Akira stops again, but not forever
Yesterday there was a lot of kerfuffle about the production of the live action film of Akira, sites around the Internet were claiming that Warner Bros. had shut down the production on the film, again, and that the project was dead.
Then the news came out that it wasn't dead, and that the production had stopped in order to go through another round of rewrites, budget rework and casting issues.
The news was that Akira had hit more budget issues, something we've heard about the project before when it went through one of the many reported bumps in production.
It's here where I feel that I need to reiterate that most projects do not have a smooth road to production, this isn't necessarily a new thing and productions, especially ones with larger budgets and riskier returns do go through a lot of discussion and debate with the studio and some productions fight for budgets on a daily basis, and that goes for every film from small independent to large high profile productions.
However with Akira this is a project that everyone who is fascinated by film has their eye on and is reporting on, so everything is getting reported about. That said, this latest stall comes quite far on in the process and it's already had a few step downs since we first heard about it.
The previous news was that the budget had been dropped and a director announced in the guise of Jaume Collet-Serra who wasn't the stature of director we had expected from the project, but was an interesting and potentially exciting choice.
Today, after we'd heard some casting news and the project was moving forward, Akira seems to be on the budget cut backs again as news comes that the production has been halted while they head back to the drawing board.
The final stories, once the excitement of the production halt was over with, revealed that the studio executives want the script re-written, and that one of the reasons is to pull down that budget once again. Remember that the budget was somewhere in the US $130 million mark and was reduced to around $90 million during the last round, now it looks like they want it dropped further.
Variety tell us that the latest version of the script, as it has undergone a number of rewrites already, is to be hit again and they are looking for new writers to "focus on character elements and particularly the film's look". Those are the words of the article which would suggest that the script isn't strong enough and it's looking too expensive.
The film is struggling of that there is no doubt, but many films have struggled like this and come out the opposite end. The real strength of this is that through the multiple rewrites and multiple writers there has to be the strong key elements of the original story, and if they don't survive with each writer understanding what Akira is about and what it means to current fans, I don't think the project will work.
If a cohesive script does come out through all those rewrites and writers then there's just the budget to deal with. The question there is can it be done with less money? Well it certainly can, it just needs to be done well and look great, reduce the scale and scope of the big scenes and concentrate on the core of the characters and story, make it darker, more like our world, and it could work.
Will Akira survive?