It looks like Leonardo DiCaprio's long in development remake of Akira is finally headed to the big screen! Yes, today we have word that California's $330 million annual incentives program has allocated $18.5 million for a live action version of Akira from Warner Bros. and DiCaprio's Appian Way production company. The film is still set to be directed by Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, but this hasn't been 100% confirmed at this point.
That said, we do know that Andrew Lazar (American Sniper, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) is also producing this adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo's 6-volume classic graphic novel alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. And on top of that, we hear that his new version of Akira will film entirely in California and will be generating an estimated $43 million in wages to 200 below-the-line crew members and more than 5,000 extras during its 71 days of filming. And overall, Akira is expected to spend a total of $92 million during production. Warner Bros. Pictures EVP of physical production and finance Ravi Mehta said this.
"We are thrilled with the opportunity to shoot Akira in California. The availability of top-notch crew members, plus the wide variety of location choices and predictable weather are second to none."
This $18 million is not the first time the California tax incentives program has given a project involving DiCaprio such a hefty sum. Back in 2017, Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood co-starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie snagged over $18 million. On a side note, while it may seem like California giving $18 million to the likes of Akira and Once Upon a Time in Hollyood it's relatively nothing compared to how much some other films have received. In fact, the top two movies to earn big bucks since the tax incentives program started accepting applications from tentpole projects five years ago are the recent Transformers spinoff Bumblebee which got $22.4 million. And the upcoming LeBron James starring Space Jam 2 with $21.8 million in credits.
For those who might not know, Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira has already been made into a fantastic anime back in 1988. That adaptation took place in 1988 when the Japanese government dropped an atomic bomb on Tokyo after ESP experiments on children went awry. The story then picked back up 31 years after the nuking of the city in the then-distant future of 2019. From there the anime followed the leader of a motorcycle gang named Kaneda who tries to save his friend Tetsuo from a secret government project. Kaneda battles anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists, and a powerful military leader until Tetsuo's supernatural powers suddenly manifest. A final battle is fought in Tokyo Olympiad exposing the experiment's secrets.
Now I'm not the world's biggest fan of anime as a whole, but even I love the original Akira film with all my movie nerd heart. Seeing the tale told on the big screen has always been a dream of mine, and so I'm happy as hell to hear it may finally be coming our way sooner rather than later. We'll keep up with the development of this live-action version of Akira and pass along any word as we hear it. This update comes to us from Deadline.