It’s a Japanese renaissance in Hollywood right now! That is if three live-action movies based on anime and/or manga projects counts as a renaissance. Ghost in the Shell is presently before the cameras, and production on Battle Angel Alita will soon get underway if the intention is to still make its 2018 release date. And yet, what do neither of those movies have? How about a director of Asian ancestry? Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) is directing Ghost, while Robert Rodriguez is working on Alita. Now though, it looks like Warner Bros. is going to shake things up by hiring the Taiwanese-born Justin Lin to helm the long gestating Akira movie.
The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider, who was appearing on Meet the Movie Press, is reporting that Warners is interested in getting Lin onto Akira, the live-action film based on the cyberpunk manga series launched in 1982 and turned into the seminal anime directed by Katsuhiro Otomo in 1988. Stephen Norrington, the Hughes Brothers, Gary Whitta, and Leonardo DiCaprio have all been attached at various points and in various capacities on the Akira film, but given the forward momentum on Ghost and Atila, it looks like the stars might finally being aligned to make it happen. According to Sneider, Warners wants to leverage Lin’s interesting in making Space Jam 2 with LeBron James by having him crank out Akira first.
It’s important to keep in mind that if this bit of information were that juicy, Sneider would have posted it in his own highly-read and influential industry trade, so this could be something from Sneider’s “you know what I overheard” file, and not a piece of information that was terribly actionable, and/or couldn’t be confirmed through official channels. There’s also the small matter of Lin being a fairly in demand director who’s unlikely to have to take a quid pro quo deal like the one described above. Especially when Vin Diesel has eye on him for a Fast & Furious comeback, and if Star Trek Beyond turns out to be a commercial and critical hit, then Paramount’s unlikely to want to give him up either. I guess we’ll find out who wants Lin more…