Warner Bros. has put production for Akira on hold in the face of casting and budgetary issues.
Warner Bros. has put production for Akira on hold in the face of casting and budgetary issues. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the production offices in Vancouver are being closed, with below-the-line talent and crew told to stop working.
Producers for the project, which has already been through several incarnations, will meet with director Jaume Collet-Serra for the next two weeks to iron out the script. It is unclear if Harry Potter writer Steve Kloves, who did a rewrite on the project a year ago, will be brought in to help out. If the issues cannot be resolved, the project could end up being shelved entirely.
Collet-Serra already had halved the budget from the incarnation that Albert Hughes was going to direct. He now is working on a budget in the $90 million range. But with only Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) signed on to star, and Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter in various stages of negotiation, the studio feels that the price tag is still too high for a sci-fi project with that level of star wattage. The goal, say insiders, is to bring the budget down to between $60 million and $70 million.
An adaptation of the classic Japanese manga, Akira is an Americanized story set in a postapocalyptic New Manhattan, where a motorcycle gang leader (Hedlund) must stop his brother and fellow gang member from abusing his newly acquired telekinetic powers.
Akira already has “died” three times only to rise phoenix-like from the ashes. Ruairi Robinson and Hughes were previously deep into the project as directors before dropping off. Collet-Serra got the project green-lighted and has come the closest to going before cameras.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.