akiraAfter years of speculation, a summer of on again-off again talk, and even George Takei blasting the adaption’s “White’ification” – Warner Bros. has officially greenlit its live-action remake of the anime cult hit Akira”. Plans for production to begin March 2012.

Over the summer director Albert Hughes (Book of Eli) dropped out of the project and a replacement was quickly named in Spanish horror director Jaume Collet-Sera (House of Wax, Unknown). Some word of a $90 million budget was circulated but its not clear if that’s where it stands now.

Speculation and now begin on who the studio will cast for the male leads of Akira, Shotaro, and Tetsuo; sources say that Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund is considered a front-runner for one of the roles. akira_manga

Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing with Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar. Katsuhiro Otomo, who wrote the original manga (1982) and directed the anime movie (1988), will be an executive producer on this version of Akira.

WB acquired the rights to Akira for a seven-figure sum from Japanese manga publisher Kodansha in 2008. The current screen play sets the action in New Manhattan, and the cyberpunk sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his friend, discovered with potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities, from government medical experiments.

Source: Variety