The latest incarnation of a live action Akira is being put on hold. Warner Bros. is halting production on the film due to budgetary and casting concerns; there may also be some problems with the script. Akira is used to having its production stopped, the adaptation of the original anime film has been batted about Hollywood for over a decade.
What we’re talking about isn’t a wait and see situation, the Vancouver offices are being closed and the workers sent home. Hopefully they can now spend time watching “Super Happy Fun Time J-Pop Wow Yeah!” The producers of this version are planning to sit with director Jaume Collet-Serra to try and revamp the script to bring the budget in line with what Warner Bros. wants. The current version is expected to cost $90 million, and that’s before any stars except Garret Hedlund had signed on.
According to Deadline Warner wants to bring the tally down to $60 or $70 million. Although a mysterious unnamed source reveals that it was really the underwhelming script that was the culprit, it’s not certain exactly why Warner has put the brakes on the film. Clearly there’s something wrong with Akira, and it needs to be addressed or cancelled entirely.
It should also be noted that the casting of Western actors to play Japanese roles has been a concern for fans. The better choice would have been to use the Akira characters to create Western versions, or to cast Japanese actors. Kristen Stewart and Helena Bonham Carter were in talks for the film, and there’s no hiding their non-Japanese ancestry.