Thursday, February 21, 2008

DiCaprio, Warner Bros. in for live-action ‘Akira’

Originally posted on Feb 21, 2008, ET by Borys Kit @ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i1afdf3970176b31535ab928b875958d1

By Borys Kit

Anime classic “Akira” is getting the live-action big screen treatment courtesy of Leonardo DiCaprio and Warner Bros.

Ruairi Robinson has been hired to direct what would ideally be a two-part epic. Gary Whitta is writing the adaptation, which DiCaprio will produce via his Appian Way shingle. Andrew Lazar is also producing via his Mad Chance shingle. Jennifer Davisson, who heads up Appian, will also be involved in some producorial capacity.

“Akira” originated in 1988 as a manga and then as an animated film co-written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. The story was set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war “New Tokyo” in 2019 where a teen biker gang member is subjected to a government experiment which unleashes his latent powers. The gang’s leader must find a way to stop the ensuing swathe of destruction.

With its mature themes and cutting-edge animation, “Akira” was a milestone movie in anime and even animation circles, and led the way for anime making inroads into Western pop culture in the 1990s.

“Akira” has long been in development at the company, with producers Jon Peters and Basil Iwanyk involved at various times, as well as directors Stephen Norrington and Pitof. The rights lapsed but Warner managed to re-scoop them again for Robinson, who came to the studio with a vision of a two-part adaptation.

The new story moves the action to “New Manhattan,” a city rebuilt by Japanese money.

The studio is eyeing a summer 2009 release for the first movie.

Greg Silverman is overseeing for Warners. Otomo is executive producing. Legendary Pictures is co-financing.

Whitta, repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion, wrote “The Book of Eli,” which the Hughes Brothers are directing for Warners and Silver Pictures.

“Akira” would mark the feature directorial debut for Robinson who was nominated for a best animated short Oscar in 2001 for a sci-fi comedy called “Fifty Percent Grey.” He also wrote and directed a sci-fi short titled “The Silent City.” Robinson is repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Warner, Leonardo DiCaprio to Produce Live-Action Akira

Originally posted on 2008-02-20 17:45 EST @ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-02-20/warner-leonardo-dicaprio-to-produce-akira-live-action

Two films planned, with first film scheduled for Summer 2009 release

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety entertainment trade periodicals both report that Warner Brothers and Appian Way, the production company of actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator), will adapt Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira manga into two live-action films. Each film will cover three volumes of the renowned science-fiction manga about a governmental genetic project and a teenager’s attempt to save a fellow biker gang member.

The manga set in Neo-Tokyo, a city rebuilt after being destroyed in a mysterious explosion. Otomo directed his own animated film adaptation that premiered on July 16, 1988 — the same day that the story has the fictional Tokyo being destroyed. The first live-action film is scheduled for release in the summer of 2009 and will move the story’s setting to “‘New Manhattan,’ a city rebuilt after being destroyed 31 years ago.”

Ireland’s Ruairi Robinson will be making his feature directorial debut with this project, and Gary Whitta (Book of Eli) is writing a script. Warner Brothers once had the film rights for Akira before, but Executive Vice-President Greg Silverman (300, Batman Begins) had to re-acquire them from Kodansha after a round of pitched bidding that reached seven figures. Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar, DiCaprio, and Appian Way’s Jennifer Davisson will produce. No announcement has been made regarding the cast.

Update: The free version of Hollywood Reporter’s article is now active, and more information about the original manga and anime adaptation have been added.

Update 2: The Hollywood Reporter’s article added a picture of the Akira character from CAPCOM’s Rival School (Rival Gakuen) videogames. This Akira character is entirely unrelated to either Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga or the planned live-action movies. Robinson directed “The Silent City” short with Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins’ Scarecrow) and the Oscar-nominated “Fifty Percent Grey” animated short. Whitta was the editor-in-chief of PC Gamer magazine and the writer of the comic-book adaptation of the Death Jr. videogame.

WB takes franchise turn with ‘Akira’

Originally Posted on Wed., Feb. 20, 2008, 11:59am PT by MICHAEL FLEMING @ http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117981194.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&nid=2562

WB takes franchise turn with ‘Akira’
Studio to adapt graphic novel
By MICHAEL FLEMING

Warner Bros. will turn anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume graphic novel “Akira” into two live-action feature films, the first of which is being fast tracked for release in summer 2009. Legendary will co-finance with WB.

Each feature will be based on three of the books in Otomo’s series. The story takes place in New Manhattan, a metropolis that was rebuilt after being destroyed 31 years earlier. Otomo will exec produce the films.

Graphic novel was first adapted for the bigscreen in 1988 as a popular animated film which Otomo directed.

Studio has closed a seven-figure rights acquisition deal with manga publisher Kodansha and has set Ruairi Robinson to direct a script by Gary Whitta (”Book of Eli”). Andrew Lazar’s Mad Chance will produce with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson.

WB had the “Akira” rights several years ago only to let them lapse and then recapture them in a spirited bidding battle.

Robinson, an Irish helmer who has been Oscar nominated for his short film and commercials work, is making his feature debut.

The project was brought in by exec veep Greg Silverman, who has supervised “300” and “Batman Begins.”

Lazar is producer on the WB comedy “Get Smart,” and he’s about to start production on the Jim Carrey starrer “I Love You Phillip Morris” for EuropaCorp.

Appian Way is producing the John Cusack starrer “The Factory” for WB and Dark Castle.

UPDATE: DiCaprio to Topline ‘Akira’, Director Confirmed!

Originally posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 by MrDisgusting @ http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/11309

UPDATE: AICN adds that Joseph Gordon Levitt (Brick) will play Tetsuo! It was confirmed this afternoon our breaking news from last October (!) that Ruairi Robinson will direct the live-action adaptation of Akira for Warner Bros. Pictures. THR added a little something extra… Leonardo DiCaprio has been tapped to star in what will be a two-part epic! Read on for the entire story.

The anime classic “Akira” is getting the live-action big screen treatment courtesy of Leonardo DiCaprio and Warner Bros.

Ruairi Robinson has been hired to direct what would ideally be a two-part epic. Gary Whitta is writing the adaptation, which DiCaprio will produce via his Appian Way shingle. Andrew Lazar is also producing via his Mad Chance shingle. Jennifer Davisson, who heads up Appian, will also be involved in some producorial capacity.

“Akira” originated in 1988 as a manga and then as an animated film co-written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. The story was set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war “New Tokyo” in 2019 where a teen biker gang member is subjected to a government experiment which unleashes his latent powers. The gang’s leader must find a way to stop the ensuing swathe of destruction.

With its mature themes and cutting-edge animation, “Akira” was a milestone movie in anime and even animation circles, and led the way for anime making inroads into Western pop culture in the 1990s.

“Akira” has long been in development at the company, with producers Jon Peters and Basil Iwanyk involved at various times, as well as directors Stephen Norrington and Pitof. The rights lapsed but Warner managed to re-scoop them again for Robinson, who came to the studio with a vision of a two-part adaptation.

The new story moves the action to “New Manhattan,” a city rebuilt by Japanese money.

The studio is eyeing a summer 2009 release for the first movie.

Greg Silverman is overseeing for Warners.

Whitta, repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion, wrote “The Book of Eli,” which the Hughes Brothers are directing for Warners and Silver Pictures.

“Akira” would mark the feature directorial debut for Robinson who was nominated for a best animated short Oscar in 2001 for a sci-fi comedy called “Fifty Percent Grey.” He also wrote and directed a sci-fi short titled “The Silent City” (watch it at BDTV), Robinson is repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment.