Argh! Just when we think we’ve gone into remission, the cancer that is Americanized Akira has returned with a vengeance. Last week, fans of the beloved anime and manga danced
naked around a fire in celebration for what was thought to be the final death stroke to Warner Bros adaptation. THR had reported that the Vancouver production offices were “shut down in the face of casting and budgetary issues.”
Variety is reporting that the film refuses to die. The word is that the studio is set to hire another new writer to do rewrites “over the next two weeks to focus on character elements and particularly on the pic’s look.” The studio has two writers in mind for the job – Jonathan Nolan (Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises) or Michael Green (Heroes, Smallville, Green Lantern).
I’ve been a bit manic with my approval of this adaptation; some days I’m OK with it, others I am not. Ultimately, however, it’s a rotten idea for a movie. The source material is too expansive and far too deep with subtext to be adapted by us silly Americans. Bringing in creatives with comic-book movie cred isn’t gonna change that.
Garret Hedlund and Kristin Stewart have been confirmed as leads Kaneda and Kei. As if the abhorrent whitewashing is not enough, the budget has been chopped from $150m down to $60m, minuscule for a film of such epic proportions. According to a recent casting call, the country/city, race, relationship and occupations of the main characters have all been changed from the source material.