Jaume Collet-Serra Returns to Direct ‘Akira’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Jaume Collet Serra Akira Director
Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Leonardo DiCaprio produces with Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Andrew Lazar

Jaume Collet-Serra is in discussions to return to the “Akira” directors chair, signing on to helm Warner Bros. adaptation of the popular anime pic. The helmer left in early 2012 after production stalled.

In early 2012, the studio shut down pre-production so that fixes could be made to the script, including tightening the budget from its original $90 million range. At the time, Collet-Serra was in such high demand coming off the recent success of the Liam Neeson action pic “Unknown,” that he decided to leave instead of waiting for the changes to be made so that he could pursue other projects. He eventually landed another Neeson pic, “Non Stop,” which bows next February.

The studio did begin looking at other directors recently, including “Catfish” helmers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, in hopes of finding someone who could deliver a film on a more smaller scale. But ultimately, the studio was still in love with Collet-Serra’s vision, and sources say the director found time in his schedule as well as a new way to appraoch the adaptation that would meet the studio’s budget request.

Collet-Serra is currently in pre-production on the crime pic “Run All Night” with Neeson, Joel Kinnaman and Ed Harris and would do “Akira” afterwards in spring of 2014. It is unknown what the new budget would be.

WB acquired the potential tentpole project for a seven-figure sum from Japanese manga publisher Kodansha in 2008. Set in New Manhattan, the cyberpunk sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his friend, discovered with potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities, from government medical experiments.

Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing with Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar. Katsuhiro Otomo, who wrote and directed the 1988 Japanese anime pic of the same name, will exec produce.

Garrett Hedlund was attached to star but it is unknown if his schedule would still allow him to do it.

Collet-Serra is repped by CAA and Management 360.

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  1. you guys are really dumb if you think any of us nerds would care about an akira that takes place in America, and especially new york – bleh. It’s like the chewbacca argument, it does not, make, SENSE. Here’s a brilliant idea, Hollywood if you are listening, since Korean based films like Cloud Atlas and the up coming Snowpiercer are actually doing well with incorporating american based movies with Asian actors, WHY NOT JUST DO IT IN JAPAN?!? Get Asian actors, set in actual Tokyo, and go from there. NERDS WILL NOT ONLY LOVE YOU but this will be regarded in the same realm as the last judge Dredd movie – underrated and a new classic for future generations to influenced for years to come.

    • jasopark says:

      They wouldn’t because the studios have a schizophrenic attitude that’s trying to both co-opt very genre intense properties while trying to make the stories as globally marketable as possible. The mentality seems to be”Ooh let’s get the rights to this nerd property then eviscerate the shit out of them with the focus group knife.”

      It makes no sense because: 1) They pick up IP that has a lot of clout with genre fanboys (i.e. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Wolverine, and even superman); and then 2) completely alter the DNA of the story to make it more ‘marketable’ thus stripping the story of its essential elements which in turn alienates the entrenched fan base which accelerates bad word of mouth (which is increasingly becoming the make-or-break catalyst for a movie to become financial successful.

      The model sucks for everyone except corporations that buy product placement time in movies.

  2. jasopark says:

    You know what would be great? If we took a movie called “Akira” and made everyone white, except maybe the one irrelevant token minority.

    Why? Because fuck Asians.

    Hooray for this movie.

  3. Simon France says:

    Please leave it alone. It can only disappoint.

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