With the blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok hitting theatres in the next few weeks, its director, New Zealand actor and comedian Taika Waititi, is soon to become a much more solidified name in America. With larger-scale recognition, larger-scale projects are often proposed, and this case is no exception.
Waititi has been rumored to be involved with the long-awaited, live-action remake of one of the most revered anime in film history, Akira. In 2002, Warner Brothers acquired the rights to the 1988 film, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, but the project never launched. Now, whispers of another attempt at a live-action version of Akira have begun. Jordan Peele, the director of the successful film Get Out was offered the project, but turned it down, not wanting to direct a remake, but focus rather on original storytelling.
Now with Waititi being the latest director rumored to be attached to the project, IGN recently spoke with him in hopes to get a confirmation. Rather than solidify himself as the director at the helm, Waititi was evasive. The What We Do In the Shadows director confirmed that he’d been in talks with Warner Brothers, but played coy when it came to solidifying himself as the person that would lead the way with this long-awaited adaptation.
“I am – that was more or less a rumor. There was, I mean, I was in talks to do that, for sure, and something that I was very passionate about – am passionate about…I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books…And, yeah, so anyway there’s been some chats [about him directing it].”
Waititi also addressed concerns hovering around the Akira adaptation in regards to casting predominantly caucasian performers, also known as whitewashing- a trend seen lately with several big-budget western adaptations of Japanese anime. Among them are Netflix’s Death Note and DreamWorks Picture’s Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson.
It would seem that the New Zealand native, if he is indeed the person to adapt Akira, would not follow suit.
“Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”
As to whether Waititi will officially take on the large task of directing the live-action version of Akira, only time will tell. The final push to seal the deal may come when the box office numbers come in for Thor: Ragnarok (hint: they will likely be high).