Many years have passed and many names have been linked to the long-gestating live-action “Akira” over the years. Hollywood has long attempted to adapt Katsuhiro Otomo’s famed six-book manga and 1988 anime film into a live-action feature with little success.

Amongst the many names to have come and gone are Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”), Jaume Collet-Serra (“The Shallows”), Justin Lin (“Fast Five”), Daniel Espinosa (“Life”) and David Sandberg (“Shazam”) all attached at one point or another.

Others like “Get Out” helmer Jordan Peele were linked but never formally attached. One person who was officially attached and stayed on the project for over a year was “The Book of Eli” helmer Albert Hughes.

In a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Hughes went into detail about how involved he was and why he exited after he realised the studio wasn’t ready to commit to it:

“I was deep. I was deep. The dirty little secret on that is they tried it many times, they were $9 million in by the time I got on.

I had another three on the project so they’re in 12 [million dollars] right now. I had a production designer, a whole office, previz and it all came down to you know this BS stuff in town like ‘oh the right casting’. It’s like well ‘Akira’ is the name, it’s the IP.

They were scared to make it and you could smell it after a while. You know it’s like well why did you get me involved? This was after ‘Book of Eli’ when Warner Brothers opened up the vault, and they said what do you want.

I said I want ‘Akira’ and so I was on that for a little under a year and I started smelling the roses of the coffee, I’m like this… they’re not really ready to make this. They’re using the excuse of casting, but that’s BS you know.

Then you know the whitewashing thing comes into play like, ‘are we gonna hire Asian actors or white actors’ and like… I’m not trying to get involved in all that. I’m fine with doing the original the way the original needs to be done, and I think the IP is bigger than any one actor.

But at that time that was 2011, and I did some really cool previz though I had some fun doing that … and redesigning the bike.”

He added that in his concept art, the one actor he had cast in his head was Gary Oldman for a key role, the rest he hadn’t decided on. He also went to BMW HQ in Germany to sit down with a concept designer to design the famed red bike – and the arguments got so heated that Hughes had to walk out.

Set in the wake of the third World War, the original “Akira” follows the leader of a biker gang in Neo-Tokyo as he tries to save his friend from a medical experiment.

The post Hughes: Studio Too ‘Scared’ To Make “Akira” appeared first on Dark Horizons.

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