Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gary Whitta Discusses Live-Action Akira’s Early Drafts

Originally posted on 2009-12-13 04:14 EST @ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-12-13/gary-whitta-discusses-live-action-akira-early-drafts

Otomo gave notes on preliminary drafts that adapted all 6 manga volumes

The ComingSoon.net reports on Sunday on an update that screenwriter Gary Whitta gave regarding his work on Warner Brothers and Appian Way’s planned live-action film adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira manga. Whitta noted that he had not worked on the project “for about a year,” but added his “very, very preliminary” script drafts adapted all six volumes of the manga. (The 1988 Akira anime film was made while the original 1982-1990 manga was still being serialized.)

Whitta acknowledged that he never had a formal meeting with Otomo, but said that the staff did receive notes from Otomo “and kept in touch.” Whitta is no longer being kept up-to-date on the project, and according to ComingSoon.net, the film’s script is now being handled by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator) is producing the planned live-action film adaptation through his Appian Way production company. Mad Chance producer Andrew Lazar (Jonah Hex, Space Cowboys) said at Comic-Con International in August that the live-action project “is a real priority project for Warner Brothers” but is not likely to go into production before the third quarter of 2010 for a 2011 release.

Update: More background information added.

Gary Whitta Provides Akira Update

Originally posted on December 13, 2009 @ http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=61594

Gary Whitta Provides Akira Update
Source: Silas Lesnick

Speaking this morning from an early press day for The Book of Eli, screenwriter Gary Whitta was asked about his contributions to an early draft of the live-action Akira film, a project that, since it’s original announcement, has met with varying degrees of progress, including rumors that it would be split into two films and that work on the project had stopped altogether.

“…I haven’t worked on it for about a year,” says Whitta, “…The version I worked on was about going back to the source and doing the manga version. We were going to adapt the whole six-episode graphic novel.”

Of interest is the note that the project would encompass all six volumes of “Akira” creator Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga. The famous 1988 anime adaptation was based primarily on the first two volumes. Whitta also made mention of Otomo’s own (albeit slight) involvement:

“We got notes from [Otomo] and we kept in touch, but we never had a formal meeting or anything. The script I worked on was very, very preliminary. We did a couple of drafts of the script but, when I was there at least, it never got wrapped up to the point where I think he would get really hands on.”

The film now appears to be in the hands of screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby and it is unknown if they are starting from scratch or expanding on Whitta’s work.

“They don’t keep you in the loop after you’re done,” says Whitta, “…now I go on the internet to find out what’s happening with it like everyone else.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Producer Lazar: Live-Action Akira is ‘Priority Project’

Originally posted on 2009-07-28 14:01 EDT @ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-07-28/producer-lazar/live-action-akira-is-priority-project

“Not realistic to go before the third quarter of next year for a 2011 release”

Mad Chance producer Andrew Lazar (Jonah Hex, Space Cowboys) told the iFMagazine website at Comic-Con International last week that while the writers for the live-action film adaptation of the Akira manga are still working on a draft, “it is a real priority project for Warner Brothers.” He cautioned however, that if the proposed project is green-lit for production, it will not be soon. “Sometimes movies need an enormous amount of prep, like this one. It is not realistic to go before the third quarter of next year for a 2011 release.”

Lazar indicated that there is “a lot of interest from a variety of people” for possible directing duties. He also emphasized that he is “a very inclusive producer of underlying rights” and that the original manga creator Katsuhiro Otomo is an executive producer and consultant on the proposed live-action project.

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety entertainment trade periodicals both reported last year that Warner and Appian Way, the production company of actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator), will adapt the Akira manga into two live-action films. Each film would 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. 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.

Source: iFMagazine via AnimeVice

Friday, July 24, 2009

Exclusive: ‘AKIRA’ Live Action Film a ‘PRIORITY PROJECT’ for Warner Bros

Originally Published on 7/24/2009 @ http://ifmagazine.com/new.asp?article=8393

Exclusive Comic-Con News (DAY 2 - July 24, 2009): ‘AKIRA’ LIVE ACTION FILM A ‘PRIORITY PROJECT’ FOR WARNER BROS.

The studio is working on a script to the ‘holy grail’ of anime for a 2011 release, says producer Andrew Lazar

By CARL CORTEZ and EMERSON PARKER, iF Staff
LOCATION: San Diego Comic Con

THE SKINNY: While talking about JONAH HEX at the San Diego Comic Con, producer Andrew Lazar revealed exclusively to iF Magazine plans for an upcoming AKIRA live action film.

“We are working on the script,” Lazar says about AKIRA. “It is a real priority project for Warner Bros. and so [the writers] are working on a draft.”

Way cool! And we can’t wait. When will it be in production? “Sometimes movies need an enormous amount of prep, like this one. It is not realistic to go before the third quarter of next year for a 2011 release,” Lazar says.

A film such as this is bound to have a huge buzz and following so does Lazar have any ideas about a director? “So many interesting choices, in truth, it is such an amazing property that we’ve seen a lot of interest from a variety of people,” Lazar says. “Once we get the final script, we’ll see what our final options are. It is a very important decision and we don’t want to jump into it lightly.”

Lazar believes that AKIRA is the holy grail of anime and wants to do it right. Because of that, he’s brought on board Katsuhiro Ôtomo, the original creator of the anime, as an executive producer and consultant on the movie.

“I’ve always been a very inclusive producer of underlying rights,” Lazar says. “And am very anxious to collaborate with Ôtomo and listen to his thoughts.”

But don’t ask about casting for AKIRA as of yet, Lazar believes that it is far too premature to be talking about who will play what role.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Not Writing Off Live-Action ‘Akira’

Originally Posted on 6/30/09 9:30 am ET by Silas Lesnick in News @ http://splashpage.mtv.com/2009/06/30/joseph-gordon-levitt-not-writing-off-live-action-akira/

Joseph Gordon-LevittThough recent rumors have sounded the death-knell for Warner Bros’ live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s seminal manga, “Akira,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t ready to say die.

“You never know,” said the “500 Days of Summer” star with a coy smile when asked if the project was truly dead. Though not quite a confirmation of anything, it’s a far-cry from his comments last year which didn’t acknowledge any connection to the project whatsoever.

“Akira”, which ran for almost ten years in a serialized format, was famously adapted in 1988 as a feature-length anime, one of the first to have a major impact in the US. News hit last year that Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way, was working on a live-action version to be split between two different films. Gordon-Levitt was rumored to star as Tetsuo, the best friend of the main character, Kaneda, who, after an accident, manifests incredible, godlike, psychic abilities and becomes the story’s chief antagonist.

Though it was rumored for some time that DiCaprio himself might step into Kaneda’s motorcycle boots, the “Titanic” star later made it clear that his only interest was in producing and recent rumors suggest that even that may not happen. Bloody Digusting reported recently that, according to anonymous (and unofficial) sources, director Ruairi Robinson is off the project and that it is, for all intents and purposes, completely dead. Let’s hope that Gordon-Levitt’s response points to more than just wishful thinking.

How do you feel about JGL as Tetsuo? Who fits into your dream casting? Share your picks below!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Akira’ Project is Dead as a Doornail

Originally posted on Saturday, June 13, 2009 by MrDisgusting @ http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/16472

It has been a year and a half since we broke the news exclusively here on B-D - and about a year since THR confirmed (without credit of course) - that Ruairi Robinson would be making his directorial debut on the live-action adaptation of Akira, a massive two-part apocalypse story that was being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Bros. Pictures. Sad news comes in this weekend as we have learned that not only has Robinson left the project, but Tetsuo and Kaneda’s adventure is “dead as a doornail,” a report we’ve confirmed with two separate sources. I can only hope it gets revived in the near future as this could have been one of the coolest effin’ movies ever.

“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.

The new story was to move the action to “New Manhattan,” a city rebuilt by Japanese money and was to hit theaters THIS summer.

“Akira” would have marked 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.

Monday, November 10, 2008

DiCaprio is Producing Akira, Ninja Scroll, Not Acting in Them

Originally posted on 2008-11-10 15:07 EST @ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-11-10/dicaprio-is-producing-akira-ninja-scroll-not-acting

Self-professed “big fan of anime” says final Akira script draft is being written

Movie star and producer Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, The Aviator) told MTV’s Splash Page that his Appian Way production company is waiting for the final script draft for the live-action film version of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira manga. He added, “I’m a big fan of Japanese anime — that and another project called Ninja Scroll we’re trying to get developed and made into a movie, and I know there a lot of loyal fans out there of the project and die-hard fans, so we’re going to try to do the best job we possibly can and we’re not going to make the movie until the script is in the right shape.” He also emphasized that he is producing in these two projects, and that he does “not really” have any interest in acting in them.

The Variety entertainment news source reported in February that Warner Brothers and Appian Way had re-licensed the rights to remake Akira from the manga publisher Kodansha. The two companies originally planned to make two films, each of which would 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. Otomo himself directed a popular 1988 anime film based on his own manga. Variety also reported last month that Warner Brothers and Appian Way had licensed the rights to adapt Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s Ninja Scroll action anime film from the Madhouse anime studio.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The American Akira Parody Cartoon

Brilliant parody of the upcoming Akira live action film.

Created by Harry Partridge (Happy Harry Toons)
http://www.youtube.com/user/HarryPartridge



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jafd97yJFOI

Friday, October 10, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Leonardo DiCaprio Updates ‘Akira’ And ‘Ninja Scroll’ Status, Won’t Star In Either Film

Originally posted on 11/10/08 12:00 pm ET by Casey Seijas in News @ http://splashpage.mtv.com/2008/11/10/leonardo-dicaprio-updates-akira-and-ninja-scroll-status-wont-star-in-either-film/

Leonardo DiCaprioWhile most of Hollywood seems to be focusing on comics made stateside — with even French publishers getting some attention lately — Leonardo DiCaprio has clearly set his sights on Asia.

Already reported here on Splash Page, DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company has been picking up classic heavy-hitters from the world of Japanese manga and anime — most notably “Akira” and “Ninja Scroll” — to develop into live-action feature films. While the news of “Ninja Scroll” is still fresh on the blogs, “Akira” has already made some moves in Hollywood, being picked up by Warner Bros., scooping up Gary Whitta to write the script, and there’s even rumors that Joseph Gordon Levitt will play the role of Tetsuo.

“We’re waiting for the final draft of the script [for ‘Akira’],” DiCaprio told MTV. “I’m a big fan of Japanese anime — that and another project called ‘Ninja Scroll’ we’re trying to get developed and made into a movie, and I know there a lot of loyal fans out there of the project and die-hard fans, so we’re going to try to do the best job we possibly can and we’re not going to make the movie until the script is in the right shape.”

However, for those of you out there hoping to see DiCaprio on Kaneda’s souped up motorcycle in “Akira” or munching on rice balls a la Jubei Kibagami in “Ninja Scroll,” don’t hold your breath. When asked about what his role will be in these properties, DiCaprio made it clear that he’d be producing, and as for as any interest in acting: “No, not really,” he responded.

So talk it up, fellow anime and manga fans out there — are you pumped to see live-action versions of these films in production? Any ideas for lead roles or directors? Let’s get the conversation going in the comments.

[Reporting by Dan Storey, MTV UK]

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Joseph Gordon Levitt Denies ‘Akira’ Involvement…For Now

Originally posted 9/10/08 2:39 pm ET by Casey Seijas in Dark Horse, News @ http://splashpage.mtv.com/2008/09/10/joseph-gordon-levitt-denies-akira-involvementfor-now/

Joseph Gordon LevittIt’s been quite some time since we’ve heard anything from the live-action “Akira” movie front, ever since it was initially announced earlier this year that Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company snagged the license to bring the manga-turned-anime classic to the big screen. So at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, MTV managed to catch up with actor Joseph Gordon Levitt, who’s rumored to play the role of Tetsuo.

When asked about the rumor, Levitt responded, “That just goes to show what you can believe about what people write about movies. I love the movie ‘Akira.’ I still have yet to read the manga, but that’s really just a rumor. They don’t have a script or anything.”

So while Levitt doesn’t necessarily say he’s not attached, it looks as though fans of what is arguably “The Godfather” of modern manga/anime properties will have to wait a bit longer before any official word comes out.

Anyone looking forward to a live-action “Akira” film? Or do you think the manga/anime are the end-all-be-all for the Japanese classic? Sound off in the comments!