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).

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.

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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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