If that headline threw you for a loop, it’s ok. There’s several moving pieces, to cause many a head to spin, should they not be up to speed on everything. First, yes, the director of Thor: Ragnarock and Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Taika Waititi is making a live-action adaptation of Akira. The hot in-demand Waititi was announced as boarding the project back in 2017. The second and bigger update comes in the form of a release date, courtesy of Deadline: May 21, 2021. Meaning we’re just two years away from this hitting the big screen.
That date may already be familiar to some. Just a few days ago we brought you the release date for John Wick Chapter 4. It also happens to be May 21st of 2021. With two high profile films set to duke it out, don’t be surprised if one of them blinks in the on coming months. Should they stand put, it’ll make for one hell of a weekend at the movies. At the same time, two years seems like an awfully short window, in order complete Akira in. If it hasn’t already started pre-viz sequences, that is.
Arguably one of the most popular manga and anime movies of all time, Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s Akira is a towering work. It’s also extremely dense and labyrinthine. That’s largely the reason it’s languished in development hell, for a few decades. The same problem that’s plagued Neon Genesis Evangelion. There are two keys though, in Waititi’s corner. One, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way is involved on the producing side, assuring a fair amount of money is funneled into the project. Then there’s the fact that he’s been open about wanting to avoid the “whitewashing” aspect that these manga adaptations usually befall. After all, no one wants a repeat of the Ghost in the Shell headache. Waititi told IGN back in 2017:
“Yeah. actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”
Even though there’s a countdown clock to Akira‘s release, we aren’t sure who will be making up that cast. Expect that to change sometime soon. What we do know is that Michael Golamco (Grimm) will be co-writing the feature with Waititi. While not currently a household name, that may change in a few weeks, when the Golamco penned Always Be My Maybe hits Netflix. As soon as more developments become available, we’ll make sure to update you, right away. Akira rolls into theaters on May 21, 2021.