The live-action, US adaptation of the Anime classic Akira has been a long, winding road of bad decisions. Ignoring the first bad decision of even thinking of making it, filmmakers The Hughes Brothers first considered giving Zac Efron the part of gang leader Kaneda, then they put the whole thing in “New Manhattan,” replaced the film’s laser gun with a TEC-9 and changed Testuo’s name to Travis. Then they offered that same teen gang leader part to 46-year old Keanu Reeves. Luckily, Reeves turned it down, which was a little unexpected considering his track record of not turning down horrible, horrible movies.
But luckily, it looks the movie’s finally reached the end of the road.
Comic artist Chris Weston has spent the last year working as a production artist on the film and recently posted on his blog about the film ending production. Although he can’t reveal much about what he did on the film because of non-disclosure agreements, he can say that the first thing he was asked to do was redesign Kaneda’s bike, which is easily the most iconic thing about the original film:
So the version I created was a bit meatier and nastier: the tyres were bigger, the engine was bigger, some of the casing was stripped off to expose the workings beneath. Kaneda was in a motorcycle gang that used these vehicles as weapons, so we gave it a more beaten-up look, dirtier, a few dents and scratches here and there.In silhouette you’d have no problem recognising it as the Akira Bike, but the lighting would reveal a whole new level of texture and detail.There was a short discussion about making it black, but I did my bit to keep it red, albeit a darker, bergundy hue. I believe BMW in Munich had begun production of a working model, but I can’t vouch for that.
To my mind, that’s the best evidence that the filmmakers had no idea what they were doing. After all, why shell out the money to make a version of a classic film if you’re going to just change the one thing that people remember about the original?