We all knew this day would come. Earlier this year, Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele fame) released his directorial debut effort, Get Out. It was a horror flick that managed to rise above its genre by making a social commentary about racism. Critics raved about the film's quality, and right now, the film sits at 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and only one "rotten" review from Armond White. Audiences also responded greatly to this film, as the flick has received an A- CinemaScore, along with over $150 million at the box office. Given its $4.5 million budget, there is no question that this is a breakout success for Peele and his career.
It was inevitable that he would be courted by studios to take on bigger budget films, and maybe even full franchises. Well, a new report from Jeff Sneider over at The Tracking Board is now reporting that Warner Bros is now “moving aggressively to lock in Jordan Peele” to direct an adaptation of the beloved manga Akira. This comes several days after his report that Life director Daniel Espinosa was in the running to direct. The outlet emphasized that the discussion has shifted since he dropped that last rumor.
For those unfamiliar, Akira is the classic Katsuhiro Otomo-written manga that ran from 1982-1990 in Young Magazine over in Japan. However, the property is best known thanks to the anime adaptation the film received back in 1988 — directed by Otomo himself, no less. The film and manga are cyberpunk and dystopian and nature, and follows a young teen gang member in Neo-Tokyo who, following an accident, is given psychic abilities that ultimately lead to his corruption. The film has gone on to gain critical and fan acclaim, and many have pointed to the parallels between it and the 2012 film Chronicle.
Along with Ghost in the Shell, Akira is one of those movies that’s been in development hell for years and years, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way has had the rights to produce for a long time now, but with little momentum.
Given the acclaim of Peele’s Get Out, there’s no doubt that the man has major story chops. However, as we reported last month, Peele doesn’t really have his eyes set on hot properties right now. When asked which superhero film he’d like to direct by Screen Junkies, he responded with with “none.”
"My whole life, I’ve been like, ‘Oh, man, wouldn’t it be dope to be a part of one of these great reboots or revivals?’ Over the past eight years, I’ve come up with four other scripts in the social horror genre. I think what people love about this movie so far is that they can’t see it anywhere else. It’s sort of a unique film, so I feel like my responsibility to the world at this point is to keep making original films. Try to do some elevated horror, fun horror, that says something. I think that’s what I’m here for.”
So, last we heard, Peele was mostly interested in tackling his handful of scripts he has sitting in his desk somewhere. Given his desire to put stuff out there that no one else is making, it seems unlikely that he’ll be swayed by Akira — unless he was given full control. Never underestimate the power of money and control.
We’ll have to see if Warner Bros’ plan comes to fruition. Peele would be quite the get for them, but we also do have to keep in mind that he’s only directed one film right now, and from what we can tell, he seems intent on bringing more original ideas to the big screen.
What do you think? Would you like to see Jordan Peele direct an Akira adaptation? Do you think Warner Bros will be able to pry him away from his own original content? Let us know in the comments down below!
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SOURCE: The Tracking Board