For years there have been ongoing and abortive attempts to make a Hollywood live-action Akira. Jordan Peele was one of the people approached to possibly direct it, and he recently talked about the theoretical movie again.
For background, in 2017 Peele revealed he’d been approached about the project and why he ultimately turned it down. “Akira is one of my favorite movies, and I think obviously the story justifies as big a budget as you can possibly dream of,” he said then. “But the real question for me is: Do I want to do pre-existing material, or do I want to do original content? At the end of the day, I want to do original stuff.”
Then, during a recent podcast interview about his film Nope, which stars Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, the topic or Akira was brought up again.
“It’s a project I’m so passionate about,” Peele remarked. “I’m glad I didn’t do it because I feel like staying away from trying to interpret that IP set me on the path to creating something new. But I want to see Neo-Tokyo. I want to see an all-Japanese cast, and I want to feel immersed in the world, the way of the films in the manga.”
The Neo-Tokyo line seems to be a reference to an earlier Hollywood proposal to have the movie take place in “ New Manhattan,” and it sounds like Peele wouldn’t want to make big changes like that.
Kodansha publishes the original Akira manga in English, and gave this description for the series:
“In 1982, Kodansha published the first chapter of Akira, a dystopian saga set in Neo-Tokyo, a city recovering from thermonuclear attack where the streets have been ceded to motorcycle gangs and the rich and powerful run dangerous experiments on destructive, supernatural powers that they cannot control. Today, Akira remains a touchstone for artists, writers, filmmakers, and fans, retaining all the brutal impact and narrative intensity it had when Otomo first unleashed it onto the world.”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.