Akira, one of the most celebrated animated features of all time, has long been the subject of attempts to adapt it as a live-action movie — only to have the projects fall apart time after time. However, a new report suggests that the latest effort to bring the 1988 film back to the big screen might have one of Hollywood’s hottest directors in line to helm it.
The new rumor indicates that Justin Lin, who directed four The Fast and the Furious films, as well as the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, is being sought after by Warner Bros. Pictures to direct the live-action Akira.
The unconfirmed report came from The Wrap reporter Jeff Sneider on a recent episode of his Meet the Movie Press podcast. According to Sneider, Lin’s association with the studio’s attempts to get Space Jam 2 rolling — he’s co-writing the script and reportedly interested in directing the film — have made it increasingly likely that Warner Bros. will bring him in on Akira, too.
Sneider cautions that the report is entirely unconfirmed at this point, and the fact that he revealed it on a podcast rather than an article suggests that it’s far from certain at this point.
Still, there’s some good thinking behind such a pairing of filmmaker and project if the studio is indeed pursuing Lin. The director on three of the last four installments of the Fast & Furious series, Lin has shown a knack for blending intense action sequences with a compelling story. Although Akira is based on a Japanese manga series and Lin is Taiwanese-American, bringing in a filmmaker — and, potentially, a cast of actors — of Asian descent would stand in stark contrast to some of the “white-washing” Hollywood has been accused of in recent years.
Set in a dystopian future version of Tokyo, Akira follows the members of a biker gang who become caught up in a powerful psychic’s attempts to free himself from the government agency holding him captive. The film was co-written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the author and illustrator of the original manga series.
Various writers and directors have been attached to the live-action adaptation over the years. Most recently, one of the showrunners on Marvel’s Daredevil series, Marco Ramirez, was attached to pen a draft of the film’s script. Orphan and Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra was attached to the film early last year, but eventually exited the project.
There’s no word on when the live-action Akira might officially begin production.