Vulture has learned that Warner Bros. is negotiating to reteam with The Book of Eli’s Hughes brothers to have them direct a live-action remake of the cult favorite Akira, from a script by Iron Man scribes Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. (Akira is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s company, Appian Way, along with Andrew Lazar, who’s also currently producing an adaptation of DC Comics’ Jonah Hex for Warners.)
Even if you had read all of Katsuhiro Otomo’s epic 1982 manga and/or seen his own 1988 anime adaptation, summarizing the plot to Akira would still prove a bit of a challenge. As near as we can figure, Akira is about the leader of a biker gang who tries to save his kidnapped pal from a powerful supernatural experiment. (It might also be a psycho-philosophical exploration of corruption, the will to power, and the maturation of man and mankind, but we were actually pretty high when we first saw it in college, so please don’t hold us to that.)
Respecting the source’s complexity (or perhaps acquiescing to it), Warners won’t proceed with a single, live-action remake of the film, which trimmed away the last half of the 2,182-page graphic novel in order to weigh in at just over two hours. Instead, we hear that the studio is planning to make Akira in two parts, with the first three volumes of the six-volume manga making up the first film, due out next year.
An official release from the studio is expected later this week.