Warner Bros has been trying to make a live action adaptation of Akira for over a decade, with the film almost coming close a few times. But it’s development hell that’s got this one stuck, directors keep dropping out, disputes over budget and contracts, nothing can go right. There have been some rumors floating around of a couple directors who Warner Bros is considering, Daniel Espinosa (Life) and David Sandberg (Lights Out) among them. But Tracking Board recently shared that a new name has just reached the top of Warner Bros list, another horror director, Jordan Peele.
That’s right, the comedian. Two months ago no one would have thought of him as anything other than that, but Peele’s recent success with the horror film Get Out has earned him a place of respect as a director. The film has debuted to rave reviews and has grossed more than $150 million on a $5 million budget.
According to Tracking Board, no deal has been closed or announced between Peele and Warner Bros. But they are in talks, and Warner Bros seems confident that they’ve found their director. Whether Peele would take up such a gig is another matter. He’s already stated that he plans on doing four more social horror films. Would he put those on hold for a higher profile project?
Another possible obstacle is that Peele is rumored to be on the list for directing The Flash solo film as well, another film that has had a troubled production so far, as directors continue to drop off the project.
Akira is a Japanese animation film released in 1988 that tells the story of a superhero like biker who attempts to release a psychic from prison while overlords try and stop him. The film is considered by many to be one of the greatest animation films of all time, and landmark film in science fiction. It’s an action film, so this would definitely test Peele’s directing abilities, but Warner Bros seems to think he is ready.
Another issue that might lend itself more to Peele’s taste is the issue of race. White washing has been a big issue in Hollywood recently, as big Hollywood films like Ghost in the Shell cast white actors in roles that should be filled with other races. Get Out was not afraid to be what it needed to be, a film about race with black actors in lead roles. That was a very “brave” thing to do. And it paid off. As of now, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart are signed on to the film, both of them white actors. Maybe choosing Peele as the director would change things up, including the cast to reflect the needs of the story to cast Asian actors. After all, this is set in Tokyo. Perhaps that’s what Warner Bros is hoping.
It’s interesting to note that all of the rumored directors for this film are horror directors. Akira isn’t really a horror story, it’s more sci fi/action. Just a observation. Is Peele ready to make the leap to big budget films? Will he postpone his proposed series of social horror films for another project? Stay tuned, folks. More updates to come.