We thought the all-white version of Akira staring Garrett Hedlund as Kaneda, some other white dude as Tetsuo, and Kristen Stewart as Kei was finally, thankfully, over early last year when director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan) bailed and the production offices were shut down for the fourth time over “casting and budgetary issues”. But then Warner hired Michael Green (Green Lantern, ugh) and Jonah Nolan to punch up the script. Now Variety reports Jaume Collet-Serra is in talks to return as director with an even lower budget.
Here’s a quick recap from a previous post. Feel free to skip down if you’re already familiar with the slow-motion train wreck that is Warner’s Akira adaptation.
The Hughes Brothers were originally attached to adapt books one through six as two movies with a budget of $230 million. Then rumors started circulating Warner Brothers was going to cast Zac Efron or a bunch of other white guys as the teenaged, Japanese gang members. The Hughes Brothers bailed. Then we heard Keanu Reeves was in talks to play Kaneda but smartly walked away from the burning wreckage. Then Jaume Collet-Serra signed on to direct, and the budget was cut to $90 million. Then Warner hired Garrett Hedlund as Kaneda because he totally looks like a Kaneda. They offered roles to Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter. Carter signed but Oldman (who is awesome) passed on the role of the Colonel (the part went to Ken Watanabe, who is also awesome). Then Kristen Stewart was offered the role of psychic medium Kei. Then we found out they were rewriting the story so Kaneda and Tetsuo were brothers and Kaneda owns a bar.
And we’re back.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Andrew Lazar, and Katsuhiro Otomo are still attached as producers. The budget is dropping again to an amount lower than $90 million, although Variety didn’t know how low it is now. They also say Warner is “still in love with Collet-Serra’s vision, and sources say the director found time in his schedule as well as a new way to approach the adaptation that would meet the studio’s budget request.” Does that new approach involve re-casting Kaneda, Tetsuo, and Kei? *fingers crossed*
Warner is planning to shoot Akira in spring of 2014, but we’ll be surprised if it starts on time. We’re just hoping Tetsuo doesn’t end up being a secret dwarf hooker.
(Banner picture via The Playlist.)