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WB giving life to anime ‘Akira’

'League' team to tackle live-action Japanimation pic

Warner Bros. Pictures will produce a live-action, English-language remake of Japan’s anime classic “Akira.”

Stephen Norrington, who has just wrapped “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” has reteamed with “League” screenwriter James Robinson to develop the project. Jon Peters will produce.

Released in 1988, “Akira” was the brainchild of Katsuhiro Otomo, who directed the film and wrote the comic from which it stemmed.

The remake will tell the story of a bike gang leader who must rescue his younger brother from his involvement in Akira, a secret government project. In the process, the biker must do battle with anti-government activists, greedy politicians and irresponsible scientists.

Robinson told Daily Variety that he came to the project after Norrington had been developing the idea with Warners execs Lionel Wigram and Dan Lin, but had yet to find a take they liked.

“I’ve been a fan of the anime for many years and understood which elements would have to be brought to a live-action translation of it,” said the Endeavor-repped Robinson, who also wrote and directed “Comic Book Villains” for Lions Gate Films. “I’ve tried to retain as many iconic elements of the anime as possible.” Robinson is now fine-tuning a producer’s draft.

Twentieth Century Fox’s “League” also has its roots in animation, with Robinson adapting it from Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s comic book series. That pic is set in a version of Victorian-era England, where fictional characters like Dr. Jekyll, Capt. Nemo and Allan Quartermain actually exist and band together to fight crime for the queen.

Peters is currently busy ironing the red cape for “Superman,” which he is producing for Warners.

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