Man, the Akira adaptation can’t seem to catch a break. After losing a string of actors in quick succession for parts in the film, now its director is hitting the highway as well. Yep, director Albert Hughes has departed the project.
According to Deadline it is an amicable “creative differences” parting of the ways, and Warner Bros. will try to put him on another movie right away. Meanwhile, the studio intends to keep Akira on a fast track, which means they will find a director quickly.
Last March Warner put together a short list of up-and-coming actors after getting a strong rewrite by Steve Kloves that set the film in a rebuilt New Manhattan, where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment. At that time Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, and James McAvoy were given the script for the role of Tetsuo; and Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake, and Joaquin Phoenix were courted for Kaneda. Then the studio had a change of heart due to the budget and wanted to have an established box office star in the movie, which led to a flirtation with Keanu Reeves that ended recently. Now Warner seems to be returning to its original plan and will likely go back to the same list of actors in hopes of making the picture later this year or early next.
Andrew Lazar is producing with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran. Akira has been one of Warner Bros.’ high priority projects since the studio and Legendary Pictures acquired it for a seven-figure sum two years ago from manga publisher Kodansha. The intention has been to make two films, each covering three books in the series.
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