After making headlines and history with Get Out, which made writer-director Jordan Peele the first African-American filmmaker to make more than $100 million domestic ($149.5 million) in his directorial debut, the director is now wanted for a big-budget follow-up. A new report reveals that Warner Bros. is "aggressively courting" Jordan Peele to take the reins on their long-gestating Akira adaptation, which has been through various stages of development since 2008. While nothing is set in stone at this time, Warner Bros. is said to be making a move to lock the comedian down.
The Tracking Board broke the news from CinemaCon, which comes just a week after rumors surfaced that Daniel Espinosa (Life) and David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) were in contention to take over this project, but now it seems the studio is seriously eyeing Jordan Peele. While the site's sources claim that the talks have been encouraging, reps for both the studio and director refused to comment on the story. If Jordan Peele does come aboard, it could put an end to the Akira development process that has lasted nearly a decade.
We first reported on this Akira project, based on the iconic manga created by Katsuhiro Otomo in 2008, when Leonardo DiCaprio came aboard to produce through his Appian Way company. He is still attached as a producer, along with Andrew Lazar (American Sniper), with Daredevil showrunner Marco Ramirez writing the most recent version of the script. If Jordan Peele does in fact sign on, though, the writer-director is expected to take his own pass at the script. He will become just the latest in a long line of writers and directors who have attempted to tackle this ambitious adaptation.
Akira is set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war Tokyo in 2019 where a teen biker gang member Tetsuo Shima is subjected to a government experiment which unleashes his latent powers. The gang's leader, Shotara Kaneda, must find a way to stop the ensuing swathe of destruction. The anime classic originated in 1988 as manga and then was made into an animated film by Katsuhiro Otoma, which is considered by many fans of Japanese animation to be among the finest works in the genre. Over the years, there have been a slew of actors, writers and directors attached to this adaptation, but it never made its way into production.
Two years after Leonardo DiCaprio came aboard to producer, the Hughes Brothers were being eyed to direct, while Zac Efron and Morgan Freeman circled the project. In 2011, Harry Potter writer Steve Kloves took a crack at the script, while Keanu Reeves was briefly attached as Kaneda, before dropping out, along with the Hughes brothers. After Jaume Collett-Serra was attached to direct later that year, the project got the closest to starting production, with Garrett Hedlund attached as Kaneda, with Kristen Stewart offered the role of Kei, and a number of actors testing for Tetsuo, such as Ezra Miller, Alden Ehrenreich, Paul Dano and Michael Pitt, although Warner Bros. ended up shutting down production in early 2012, to rework the script in order to get the budget down. Marco Ramirez came aboard to write the script in June 2015, with a report surfacing in September 2015 that Christopher Nolan may be eyeing this project, but that was the last we heard about Akira until now.