Warner Bros. is in early talks to sign “Get Out” writer/director Jordan Peele on for its adaptation of the manga classic “Akira,” TheWrap has learned.
If signed, Peele’s addition would end the 15-year development stagnation that the “Akira” project has been stuck in since WB bought the rights to adapt Katsuhiro Otomo’s 80s manga series back in 2002. “Star Trek Beyond” director Justin Lin is among the talent previously approached by the studio, that decided to ultimately back out.
Sources tell TheWrap that Peele is high on WB’s list of potential directors, having become a hot commodity after the critical and commercial success of “Get Out,” which crossed $150 million at the box office this past weekend.
“Akira” takes place in a dystopian near-future in a city called Neo-Tokyo, which was built after the old Tokyo was destroyed by a psychic attack. Enter a pair of teenage bikers, Tetsuo and Kaneda, who become the top target of the government when Tetsuo suddenly develops psychic powers. Soon, the bikers are on the run not just from the government, but from Akira, the powerful psychic behind the first psychic explosion that destroyed Tokyo.
Previous reports indicate that the American remake will move the story from Japan to the U.S., with New Tokyo becoming New Manhattan. The closest the project got to starting production was back in 2011, when Jaume Collet-Serra (“House of Wax,” “Non-Stop”) was brought on as director and Garrett Hedlund entered talks to play Tetsuo. But by 2012, WB halted production due to budget and script issues. “Daredevil” showrunner Marco J. Ramirez was the most recent signing related to this project, having been brought on two years ago to pen the script.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions and Andrew Lazar (“American Sniper”) are attached to produce the film.