The live-action film adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira manga is being shut down because of “casting and budgetary issues.” The film’s production offices in Vancouver will be closed, and staff working on film’s physical production which was scheduled to start on March 5th have been told to stop. Unfortunate but given this project’s history not all that surprising. More details follow,

The development crew of producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar, along with director Jaume Collet-Serra have been requested to slash the production budget by 1/3 from $90 million to something closer to $60 million. Otherwise the production will be shelved indefinitely. Why the budget was dropped is open to some speculation – internal marketing and “casting buzz” may have come back with ideas of the films success not being the previously described “tentpole project” meaning one that is a possible blockbuster for that season.

Warner Bros. officially green-lit the film for production in October but this was after many starts and stops, 3 or 4 writer changes, and 3 director changes dating back to 2008. News over the past several months regarding the casting also didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Others are reporting that the script and casting issues have lead to the requested budget cuts and halting of production.

Two acting candidates for the central role of Tetsuo, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, True Blood) and Michael Pitt michael-pitt dane-dehaan (Boardwalk Empire) had both of their options deals end January 5th and are no longer legally bound to keep their schedules open for Akira. Production had been scheduled to start on March 5 before the shutdown.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is still producing through his Appian Way production company.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter