Leonardo DiCaprio and Warner Bros. are set to team up for a series of live-action motion pictures based on anime artist, Katsuhiro Otomo's masterpiece, Akira . According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gary Whitta has been hired to write the adaptation, which DiCaprio will produce through his Appian Way production company. The films are being fast tracked for release in summer 2009. Each feature will be comprised of three of the books in Otomo's series.
Akira set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war Tokyo in 2019 where a teen biker gang member is subjected to a government experiment which unleashes his latent powers. The gang's leader 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.
Warner Bros has the rights to Akira up until several years ago when they allowed the rights to lapse. They regained them after a spirited bidding war. Warner's executives are describing the double-bill as Blade Runner meets City Of God.
Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way has not yet announced when production for Akira is scheduled to begin.