DiCaprio to produce live action Akira movie set for 2021 release
Hollywood is setting its eyes on the next best thing; Akira. The Japanese manga, a widely-celebrated classic, is finally receiving it’s live-action treatment with Taika Waititi directing and Leonardo DiCaprio (under Appian Way) producing. Comic book adaptations have proven their worth (when done properly) following Marvels box office crushing Avengers: Endgame and Oscar award winning Black Panther.
Akira, was originally adapted into an animated film in 1988 by Japanese manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo who directed the film and created the screenplay. The original story follows Shōtarō Kaneda, protagonist and leader of a motorcycle gang, as he attempts to save his friend Tetsuo from the hands of a corrupt government.
With no cast currently attached, Waititi expressed back in 2017 during an interview with IGN, the importance of casting Asian actors in lead roles with a personal focus on platforming ‘untapped talent’. Hopefully, avoiding the same pitfalls as the 2017 re-make of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell, which recieved backlash following the announcement of a predominately white cast.
Akira has a loyal, international cult following, boasting over $80 million worldwide sales from home video purchases after it’s original 1988 release. Whether you’re an anime fan or not, you’ve seen the iconic Akira bike slide which has been referenced and immortalised by many popular shows from Family Guy, South Park to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Set in a post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo, Akira, the live action production is due for release in late May 2021.