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Warners says yes to Akira remake

Akira.jpgAkira, the much talked about live-action remake of the cult anime has been given the go ahead by Warner Bros., which finally means the project can move forward and we can really start to hear some genuine news about the intent and casting on the film.

Appian Way is still producing, and yes that means Leonardo DiCaprio is somewhere behind the scenes still, which is an amazing thought considering it's struggled so much with budget, something I really don't understand from the studio.

I don't understand it because on the face of it the studio seems to make some absurd decisions. Think on this, The Lone Ranger gets given a budget of over US $200million and Akira struggles with a budget of over $100million, getting pulled down to around $90million and to receive a go ahead we're not even sure how much budget it's been given, but it's almost certainly now less than $90million, and while that might seem like a lot we are talking about a film heavy with effects.

If the story is staying with the one we last heard then they will be creating a futuristic New York that has been devastated in war and rebuilt by a huge Japanese company and relabeled New Tokyo, and looking at the technology, style and the closing sequences of the film you know that there's going to be a big call for effects.

The Lone Ranger however has expensive people and is a western. I don't get it. Can someone explain that reasoning to me as a mere audience member?

I wonder if they know that if Akira isn't made with enough effort then it's not going to wash with fans, but if The Lone Ranger isn't it's much easier to get away with, it's two guys on two horses, it's a western without any aliens.

The news from Variety that the remake of Akira (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) is a go doesn't tell us who is behind it now. We've seen names come and go, some attached, some rumoured, let's have a quick recap:

October 2007 - Ruairi Robinson is rumoured as director, an Irish director who previously wrote, produced, edited and directed The Silent City, with a script by Gary Whitta.
February 2008 - We hear this might be two live action films.
November 2008 - We hear about the script changes.
November 2008 - Leonardo DiCaprio tells us that they're waiting on a final draft of the script and that he's not interested in starring.
June 2009 - Ruairi Robinson leaves the production.
September 2009 - Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby are said to be writing a new version.
February 2010 - Albert and Allen Hughes are set to direct, think Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, From Hell, Touching Evil, The Book of Eli.
February 2011 - Steve Kloves, writer from the Harry Potter series, is on to rewrite the script.
May 2011 - The Hughes leave the project, and again no director.
July 2011 - Jaume Collet-Serra, director of Unknown, is set to direct. He was chosen for his ability to return a film on a low budget. Great.

Now we don't know if Collet-Serra is still on board or if he bailed out during the budget meetings, but now that the budget is agreed and the production has the go ahead, we should see some movement on director, potentially a new script and writer, and some star power, albeit much smaller than The Lone Ranger.

The original film told of two friends in one of the bike gangs of New Tokyo, the leader Kaneda, and his close friend Tetsuo. Tetsuo is pulled into a secret government experiment called Akira and Kaneda tries to save him. However on the way various powerful factions of the city begin fighting both physically and politically while a prior unknown supernatural power begins to rise in Tetsuo threatening to consume him and the entire city.

See that's surely going to need a lot of effects. Can they do a decent Akira for that amount of money?



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