Warner Bros. has delayed production on their long-gestating live-action adaptation of Akira indefinitely. This is a movie that just can't seem to catch a break. Filming was seemingly mere weeks away when a round of new problems got in the way of the seemingly plagued project. Not the least of which has to do with director Taika Waititi signing on for Thor 4 over at Marvel Studios. As such, Akira is going to have to wait. And possibly for a while.
According to several new reports, Warner Bros. has put a pin in Akira for now, with script and budgetary concerns being cited as the reason for the delay. Previously, Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows, Non-Stop) had been tapped to direct the adaptation of the popular and highly-regarded manga back in 2012. Similarly, just ahead of filming, the plug was pulled on that version of the movie over budgetary issues. In this current iteration, things began to heat up when Taika Waititi, coming hot off the success of 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, had been tapped to direct.
Taika Waititi had reportedly already been testing actors for the main Akira roles and Warner Bros. had locked down a prime May 21, 2021 release date. Unfortunately, the latest round of delays forced a bit of a stalemate. Given Waititi's commitments on the upcoming Thor 4, which he recently locked down a deal to write and direct, it will force the productions to bump up a bit too close to one another. Now, Warner Bros. has a big decision to make when it comes to the future of this adaptation; wait for Waititi or move on to yet another filmmaker.
The indication is that the studio wants Taika Waititi to remain involved, even if that means waiting for him to finish Thor 4 first. Akira is based on the manga series of the same name by Katsuhiro Otomo. The writer was said to be involved with the movie adaptation. His work had previously been brought to the screen as an anime, which resulted in the beloved 1988 version, which Otomo personally directed. Warner Bros. secured the rights to turn it into a live-action movie way back in 2002. Since then, it's been a revolving door of various filmmakers and problems, with this just adding to the project's troubled history.
Leonardo Dicaprio was on board as a producer, via his Appian Way production company. It's unclear if he will remain in that position now that the project has been delayed. Warner Bros. had also secured $18.5 million in tax credits for the production. Again, it's unclear what effect this delay will have on that financial aspect of the movie. As for Taika Waititi, he's got his next directorial effort Jojo Rabbit coming down the pipeline this October, in which, he plays an imaginary, comedic version of Adolf Hitler in a politically-driven satire. We'll be sure to keep you posted with any further updates regarding Akira. This news was previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter.