After over 15 years trying to get a live-action Akira film made and Warner Bros. seemingly secured $18.5 million in tax incentives and will film primarily in California, as it looks like it’s finally going to actually begin production soon. The news was revealed by TheHollywoodReporter, who mentioned Akira was one of 18 projects that have landed incentives and will shoot 71 days in the sate.

Akira, the adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga series that Leonardo DiCaprio is producing through his Appian Way along with Andrew Lazar that Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi set to direct, is among 18 film projects that have just been selected to receive tax credits under the California Film Commission’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0.

With the assistance of an $18.5 million tax credit, the Warner Bros. release, which is not yet cast, is scheduled to shoot entirely in California over the course of  71 filming days even though the futuristic film is set in Tokyo in the year 2060. The big-budget film is expected to generate $92 million in qualified spending, the Film Commission said —that includes $43 million in wages to 200 below-the-line crew members and more than 5,000 extras and stand-ins.

Taika Waititi recently worked on the Star Wars live-action series The Mandalorian, his WWII era dark comedy Jojo Rabbit starring Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell, and made his big splash with Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok. The New Zealand writer-director had been mentioning to IGN a desire to use Asian leads after the project had been plagued with whitewashing and attempts to Americanize the source material.

When I asked Waititi if he was going to direct Akira, he replied, “I am — that was more or less a rumor. There was, I mean, I was in talks to do that, for sure, and something that I was very passionate about — am passionate about.”

“I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books,” Waititi said, adding, “And, yeah, so anyway there’s been some chats [about him directing it].”

“Yeah. Actually, Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.” Waititi later added that he meant “all” the books in the six-volume manga series.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way will be producing.

I actually did a deep dive into the history of Warner Bros. trying to adapt the manga/anime into a live-action film for IGN.

In 1988 the Japanese government drops an atomic bomb on Tokyo after ESP experiments on children go awry. In 2019, 31 years after the nuking of the city, Kaneda, a bike gang leader, tries to save his friend Tetsuo from a secret government project. He battles anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military leader until Tetsuo’s supernatural powers suddenly manifest. A final battle is fought in Tokyo Olympiad exposing the experiment’s secrets.

Warner Bros. has yet to give Akira an official release date.

SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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