At the end of last week, though, it was reported that the production studios in Vancouver that were getting ready for the film, which was scheduled to start shooting in February/March, had been shut down. Initially, it was unclear if this was for budgetary reasons or for a script rewrite, but now it seems as though the project is still very much alive at Warner Bros.
Variety report, via ComicBookMovie.com, that none other than Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan’s brother and fellow scribe on The Dark Knight, The Prestige, and this year’s highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, is being eyed by the studio to do the rewrite, with Green Lantern’s Michael Green also being considered:
“As for “Akira,” which has only “Tron: Legacy” star Garrett Hedlund locked, the studio is by no means pulling the plug. Insiders said a new writer will probably be brought on over the next two weeks to focus on character elements and particularly on the pic’s look. While no one’s yet been offered the job, studio is said to be eyeing Jonah Nolan (“The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises”) and Michael Green (“Green Lantern”).
WB prexy Jeff Robinov met with the “Akira” team to discuss several issues, including who would land the second lead opposite Hedlund. Choices had been narrowed down to Michael Pitt and Dane DeHaan, but the studio wanted to wait until after the holidays to decide. Now that decision will be delayed further.”
Though casting news has been coming for some time, Hedlund is the only one who’s officially signed on, but some very talented people have been in talks for the other leading roles alongside him, including Ken Watanabe, Kristen Stewart, and Helena Bonham Carter, and hopefully they’ll be signing on soon too.
The report also sheds light on the casting of the male co-lead opposite Hedlund, singling out Michael Pitt and Dane DeHaan as possibilities, which throws new names into the hat, after the likes of Logan Marshall-Green, Toby Kebbell, and Paul Dano were thought to be testing too back in November. (I’ve been rooting for Kebbell, myself; he was so good in RocknRolla.)
I’m naturally well aware that reception of the Akira project is mixed. Many fans don’t think the original needs an adaptation, and particularly one that has only Watanabe so far as a Japanese actor involved in the film. Personally, I’m willing to overlook any and all potential criticisms, because I think this has a huge potential to be immense, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Nolan is of course a very talented writer, and it would be amazing if he were to come on and do a rewrite for the script. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. As always, more news as we get it.