Thor: Ragnarok director Taiki Waititi has confirmed today that he has been approached about directing a live-action version of manga, Akira. However, he was coy about whether he was going to take them up on the offer.
Waititi confirmed that there have been ‘talks’, however, he spoke about the project in both past and present tense, even though he also offered his opinions on adapting the material and casting choices.
When asked if he was going to direct Akira, he replied: “I am – that was more or less a rumour. There was, I mean, I was in talks to do that, for sure, and something that I was very passionate about – am passionate about.”
Warner Bros. has been developing a live-action version of the Akira anime for a while now, but Waititi has stated that he isn’t interested in remaking that movie, instead wanting to adapt the original source material and remain faithful to the work:
“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 the movie].”
When talks first began about a live-action Akira, several white actors – including Kristen Stewart, Dane DeHaan, and Garrett Hedlund – were attached to star in a feature that eventually fell apart. And with the growing concerns of Hollywood whitewashing in stories featuring Asian characters, many were worried that the same will happen with Akira. But, when asked about casting Asian leads, Waititi insisted that he would – if he did direct the film, that is:
“Yeah. Actually, 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.”
Taika Waititi’s next project is expected to be World War II dramedy Jojo Rabbit, which is reportedly due to begin film in spring next year.