There are three anime and manga properties that have pretty much been in development on some level or another for pretty much the past decade. Those films are Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and Death Note. This year will see the release of two of those films after a lifetime in development hell, and that leaves one last adaptation left on the table from the main trio that Hollywood has been circling. If you thought that they had given up on adapting the beloved manga (and even more beloved anime) Akira, then you are sadly mistaken. Yes, like many projects in the business, it seems like it took a bit of a reprieve, but it is by no means dead.
In a recent episode of Meet the Movie Press, The Tracking Board editor-in-chief Jeff Sneider mentioned that Warner Bros was searching for a new director for the manga adaptation, there were two that stood out to him. The first was Lights Out helmer David F. Sandberg, but that one was ruled out almost immediately due to the fact that Sandberg was more recently announced as the man behind the Shazam movie.
That left one other potential director as a current frontrunner: director Daniel Espinosa. While not the biggest name, the Swedish filmmaker has spent the past few years putting out films like Safe House, Child 44, and more recently, the space horror-thriller Life, starring Ryan Reynolds. As of right now, this is still very much categorized as a rumor, but it’s still something worth thinking about.
Is Espinosa a director we’d want to see have a hand in adapting a beloved property like Akira? My gut says no, and not because I think he isn’t talented, but rather that I don’t see anything in his cache of films that shows he is able to handle the huge swath of material present in the manga. Yes, Life is technically a sci-fi film, but Akira is something that skews much closer to something like Blade Runner (at least in terms of aesthetics), which is a different territory altogether.
And of course, the key factor here will be who they get to adapt the material. While I know the original anime film in 1988 shaped a good number of people, I’ve always found it to be a pretty poor adaptation of the much stronger material. Hopefully whoever they bring on to adapt this film will be much better suited.
What do you think of Daniel Espinosa directing an Akira live-action film? Let us know in the comments down below!