While most of Hollywood seems to be focusing on comics made stateside -- with even French publishers getting some attention lately -- Leonardo DiCaprio has clearly set his sights on Asia.
Already reported here on Splash Page, DiCaprio's Appian Way production company has been picking up classic heavy-hitters from the world of Japanese manga and anime -- most notably "Akira" and "Ninja Scroll" -- to develop into live-action feature films. While the news of "Ninja Scroll" is still fresh on the blogs, "Akira" has already made some moves in Hollywood, being picked up by Warner Bros., scooping up Gary Whitta to write the script, and there's even rumors that Joseph Gordon Levitt will play the role of Tetsuo.
"We’re waiting for the final draft of the script [for 'Akira']," DiCaprio told MTV. "I’m a big fan of Japanese anime -- that and another project called 'Ninja Scroll' we’re trying to get developed and made into a movie, and I know there a lot of loyal fans out there of the project and die-hard fans, so we’re going to try to do the best job we possibly can and we’re not going to make the movie until the script is in the right shape."
However, for those of you out there hoping to see DiCaprio on Kaneda's souped up motorcycle in "Akira" or munching on rice balls a la Jubei Kibagami in "Ninja Scroll," don't hold your breath. When asked about what his role will be in these properties, DiCaprio made it clear that he'd be producing, and as for as any interest in acting: "No, not really," he responded.
So talk it up, fellow anime and manga fans out there -- are you pumped to see live-action versions of these films in production? Any ideas for lead roles or directors? Let's get the conversation going in the comments.
[Reporting by Dan Storey, MTV UK]