The live-action, English-language remake of the Japanese animation classic Akira has suffered so many stops and starts over the years that I was beginning to think (/hope) it’d never happen. But now that Warner Bros. has officially greenlit the movie, it seems director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan) isn’t wasting any time getting things together. We heard last week that Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) was the frontrunner to star as Kaneda, and now it looks like a couple of other actors have been tapped as well. According to a new report, Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter have been offered roles in the film. More details after the jump.

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After a long and rumor-filled development hell, one of the most celebrated animated films of all time, Akira, has officially been greenlit for a live action remake. Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unknown, House of Wax) will helm the newly-budgeted $90 million movie about the leader of a biker gang whose best friend is infected with an unstoppable power.

Shooting will begin in late February/early March 2012 according to Variety, who broke the news. They also report Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) is the front runner for the lead role of Kaneda. More after the jump.

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The latest film from Final Destination 2 and Snakes on a Plane director David R. Ellis is Shark Night 3D, which opens in theaters today. That makes this afternoon a good time to announce his next film, which will likely be a remake of the anime OVA Kite (aka A Kite), which was directed by Yasuomi Umetsu and released in 1998. Rob Cohen was doing to direct the live-action version at one point, but little has been heard about for some time. The story involves an orphaned girl who is coerced into sexual servitude and murder — in other words, don’t expect a direct translation in this live-action version. Read More »

Many of us have seen, or at least have heard of, the 1989 animated film Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (seen above). Based on the groundbreaking comic strip by Winsor McCay, it centers on a young boy and the wild adventures he has in his dreams. Long before its release, the film went through years of development hell and, at one point, was actually being developed by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Ultimately, Miyazaki and his team left the project and it became something very different, but a clip has now surfaced that gives us an idea of what Little Nemo in Dreamland, the Ghibli version of the film, might have been.

Part Peter Pan, part E.T., part Ponyo and part Top Gun, this clip will make you wish this film existed. Check it out after the jump. Read More »

I’m still kicking myself for missing yesterday’s Comic-Con panel for The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, but at least we can all now feast in the trailer that premiered there. As a huge fan of the original Avatar: The Last Airbender, I’m happy to report that Korra looks like a gorgeous and mature follow-up.

The trailer opens up with some epic imagery, including a giant statue of a grown-up Aang (the original series’ main character), and a flying bison (no clue if it’s Appa). We see Korra, the new Avatar, leaving her home in the Southern Water Tribe and making her way to the United Republic. That city was founded by Aang and Zuko (the tortured “evil” prince from the first series) as a place meant for members of all tribes to live, our friends over at UGO reported from the panel. Read More »

An international English-language trailer has dropped for Studio Ghibli‘s Arrietty, the directorial debut of animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The new spot features the UK voice cast, which includes Saoirse Ronan as Arrietty, Olivia Coleman, Tom Holland, and Mark Strong.

Based on Mary Norton‘s classic children’s series The Borrowers, the film revolves around a 14-year-old girl named Arrietty Clock, who is one of a group of tiny people who secretly reside in the homes of regular-sized people and “borrow” supplies from them as needed. When Arrietty is discovered by a human boy, the two strike up a friendship that has big repercussions for the Clocks’ lives. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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With innumerable mountains to climb on the way to remaking Akira, such as the dark storyline, escalating budget and lack of a star, the one constant the film had in recent months was a director. Now the remake of the classic Katsuhiro Otomo anime/manga is without a captain as director Albert Hughes (seen above right with his brother Allen) has reportedly left the film. This comes mere days after news broke that Keanu Reeves was the latest to pass on the lead role of Kaneda and that Warner Bros. had shut down a department working on pre-production. We ask again, what does this mean for Akira? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Cool Stuff: Life-Size ‘Akira’ Replica Bike

While looking around Craigslist last night, I came across a listing for a Life Size replica of Kaneda’s Bike from Akira. Built by Hollywood Fabricator Eddie Paul for Rapper/singer/record producer  Kanye West, this Akira Bike is for sale for only $4,000. The only catch is that it is a collectible meant to be displayed, not ridden. Made from steel and vacuum-formed plastic with rubber tires, the bike was built for the Kanye West Music Video “Stronger” (but was cut from the final video). Kanye West and the music video producer signed the bike. Hit the jump to see more photos.

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Last year, there was a great deal of controversy surrounding the casting of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, a live-action movie version of the heavily Asian-influenced cartoon. The characters in the original series appear to come from a range of ethnic backgrounds, but the film version recast the majority of them as white. More recently, bloggers and Hunger Games fans voiced unhappiness with the casting of blond-haired, blue-eyed Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, who is described in the books as olive-skinned with dark hair and grey eyes — in other words, not necessarily white and definitely not blond-haired and blue-eyed.

Now, the latest project to get flak for “whitewashing” (as it’s called) its roles is Warner Bros.’ live-action remake of Akira, the iconic Japanese animated film. A recently revealed shortlist indicated that only Caucasian actors are currently in the running for the lead roles of Kaneda and Tetsuo. (The shortlist also showed that the studio is only considering actors ten years older than the originally teenaged characters, but that’s an issue for another day — we already knew it wouldn’t exactly be a faithful adaptation.) Read more after the jump.

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