Though “Akira” has had significant developments in recent months — including potentially adding Kristen Stewart to the cast — Warner Bros. has shut down production on the live-action adaptation of the classic anime and manga.
For years, “Akira” had been an on-again, off-again production, with the likes of Keanu Reeves and Albert Hughes involved at one point. But the most recent attempt at the film — with “Unknown” director Jaume Collet-Serra and “Harry Potter” screenwriter Steve Kloves retouching the script — made the most progress on the property to date, getting as far as casting Garrett Hedlund as Kaneda, the lead.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the story of the shutdown, citing a source close to the production. According to the report, Warner Bros. closed the Vancouver production offices in order to reassess the budget, which the studio feared was too high. Over the next two weeks, producers will meet with Collet-Serra to work on the script with an eye on reducing costs. Insiders claim that Warner Bros. is looking to reduce the $90 million budget to the realm of $60 million or $70 million.
The proposed $90 million was already half of what it was for Hughes’ production. Lowering the budget to that level was one of the accomplishments under Collet-Serra’s version of the film, along with casting Hedlund in the lead and eyeing high-profile stars for the supporting roles.
Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham-Carter were three of the stars in various stages of negotiations to join the film. The “Twilight” star had reportedly been offered the female lead as Kei, while Watanabe stepped up for the Colonel after Gary Oldman turned down the role.
Sources close to the production tell THR that despite the setback, “Akira” is far from dead, saying, “It’s a very resilient movie. Warner Bros. just won’t let it die.”
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