Geek Culture

Taika Waititi & Leo DiCaprio Team Up For The Akira Live-Action Movie!

This one has been a long time coming, and does it feel good to know that it’s finally happening. Leonardo DiCaprio‘s long-gestating live-action adaptation of the iconic 1988 animated film Akira is underway, and are we excited especially with Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) leading the charge in production.

Taika Waititi

The Oscar Winner’s very own production company, Appian Way, received an allocation of US$18.5 million from the California US$330 million annual incentives program to greenlight the production of the movie, which is already projected to spend approximately US$92 million on production. Co-producing with DiCaprio will be Andrew Lazar (American Sniper).

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Leonardo DiCaprio

Before making headlines and producing that sweet pop-culture-defining Neo Tokyo drift (you know the one), Akira was actually a Japanese manga created by Katsuhiro Otomo. Back in Japan, both the print and screen versions of Akira were popular.

And when the animated film got localised for Western audiences, Akira‘s popularity skyrocketed, entrancing viewers with its gritty cyberpunk take on what we would now know as 2019. A little far off from what Otomo-san had imagined, but with Waititi at the helm, nothing is too far off for the guy.

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With the Akira live-action adaptation being made in the West, concerns for white-washing are a natural reaction (see: Ghost in the Shell). However, in an interview with IGN back in 2017, Waititi reassured fans that this wouldn’t be the case, though he has admitted to being a bigger fan of the original manga series than the film itself.

” Yeah, actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me,” mused Waititi. “Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”

Fresh off another well-produced manga adaptation this year, Alita: Battle Angel, our hopes for Akira are much, much higher, especially with Waititi’s intentions of being more faithful to the source material, alongside DiCaprio’s backing.


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