Warner Bros. has put its long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely, sources tell Variety.
Sources indicate that after a brief delay, the studio has pulled the plug on production indefinitely for the classic anime adaptation, which was set to begin later this fall. “Thor: Ragnarok” helmer Taika Waititi was on board to direct, and the studio hopes that “Akira” can get back into production once he’s done filming “Thor 4.” Multiple sources close to Warner Bros. found this week’s announcement of Waititi directing “Thor 4” to be surprising, with one person adding they were caught off guard by Waititi’s decision to focus on the Marvel property as “Akira” was getting closer to production.
Waititi was in the midst of meeting with young Japanese actors for “Akira’s” two lead roles. While the studio originally delayed production to give him time to find the right talent, it now seems there may have been more creative disagreements over the project.
The postponement represents another setback for the “Akira” adaptation, which has spent years trying to get off the ground, dating back to when Jaume Collet-Serra was set to direct in 2012. Warner Bros. had similar budgetary concerns at the time, and the studio went back to the drawing board. Collet-Serra eventually departed to work on other projects.
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When Waititi boarded the film in 2018 after he finished production on Fox Searchlight’s “Jojo Rabbit,” the project looked to be in its best position in years to finally get moving. “Akira” was scheduled to open on May 21, 2021, but it’s now likely to be removed from the schedule.