I’d like to preface this article by saying that I’m always a fence-sitter when it comes to reboots, remakes and live-action adaptations. I prefer to remain optimistic and make my judgments after production starts and I have a chance to see what’s going on behind the scenes. And I was feeling that way about the Akira adaptation that the folks in Hollywood want to put together. Now, a recent interview with the attached director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unknown) has made up my mind for me. Scroll down to see what Collet-Serra has to say about Akira and tell me whether or not this man should be allowed to touch this project.
When talking with ComingSoon, Collet-Serra had these worlds concerning how he would steer the adaptation:
“It’s different, because you have to be respectful of the source material. Otomo adapted his own work from a manga into an anime and both things are completely different and genius. The only way to do a live version of “Akira” is to take the spirit and adapt it. It will be as different as the anime was from the manga.”
About how he plans to keep fans of the original happy:
“I think you cannot make a movie about “Akira” and hope that everyone understands it. Like everything else, you have to make three or four movies in one where there’s the essence somewhere. If you’re a fan, you already know what it’s about and you’ll see it’s part of the same world, but trying to oversimplify it would be a mistake. I think if at some point a character tries to explain it to the audience at the end of the second act, that’s a problem. It’s more like an existential opera. It’s something that can only be explained in the manga, and even in the anime it’s hard to follow.”
About the characters of Akira and how he plans on changing them to fit his own vision:
“I hope that I can bring strong characters. In the original source material, I don’t think the main characters are the protagonists. What I’m hoping is to bring characters.
“Nobody’s interesting. Tetsuo’s interesting because weird sh*t happens to him, and Kaneda is so two-dimensional. That’s part of the Japanese culture, they never have strong characters. They’re used as a way to move the other philosophy forward.”
And about his vision of a possible Akira franchise:
“Yeah. So hopefully in my version that will be strong, and you’ll have a story that happens in that world that will show you a little bit of the mystery. Then, if you’re interested, they’ll make “Akira 2 & 3” then you can get deeper into it. I love the world, a lot of people love that world, so why wouldn’t we indulge in it a little bit and see how it would be if it was real? Like you say I don’t have to explain everything, but wouldn’t you like to spend two-hours in a world of “Akira” and follow a character and be like, “that’s cool”? That’s all I want to offer, is two-hours in a world you can actually feel. We’re working on it.”
So I agree with some of what he has to say, but the general vibe I’m getting from Collet-Serra is that he’s got an idea and doesn’t care as much about the original source material as he does making something “cool” enough to draw in audiences and prompt sequels. Maybe I’m off track, but it sounds a bit like the Transformers franchise all over again, albeit with a smaller budget and more obscure origins.
But I could be wrong? What say you, Nerd Readers? Does this sound like the right guy for the job? Am I getting my panties in a wad for nothing?
Thanks to GeekTyrant for the heads-up.