Most fans of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s 1988 animated masterpiece Akira never wanted a live action remake to happen. But Warner Bros., the studio who holds the rights, has been pushing the issue for about five years. Almost every single prominent actors in his late-twenties or early-thirties was floated as possibly playing the star of the film, Kaneda, and several directors have been attached too. The most recent being Jaume Collet-Serra who almost got the film in front of cameras – he had even auditioned and cast some roles – before the studio pulled the plug on the film for what feels like the 10th time.

A live action Akira may still happen but, for now, it just lives in that weird limbo of films that got close but never made it. Which just means, for years to come, we’ll hopefully be rewarded with glimpses at pre-production work hinting at what could have been.

The first instance of that has now been revealed: unused storyboards from one of the film’s earliest incarnations. They show imagery that’s both directly from the original film (and graphic novels) as well as a few twists that are very unlike the source material. Check it out below. Read More »

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Disney has been struggling with the marketing for Andrew Stanton‘s John Carter, which opens in a couple weeks but still seems to face an uphill battle establishing itself even for audiences that should be pretty receptive to an old-school sci-fi film based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.

There have been a couple trailers now and quite a few clips released, and while each has various charms no one trailer or clip has really hammered home what the movie is.

So a fan took a lot of the released footage and cut a non-official trailer. It’s a lot better than any of the others, both from the perspective of laying out the story, and for showing the scope of the film. After the break, you can see this John Carter edit, as well as a quick fan-made teaser for a live-action version of Akira. Read More »

Looks like the process of studios scrutinizing spending on films in development is a process that will continue into 2012. Disney put Lone Ranger on hold last year when the budget escalated to over $250m, and Warner Bros. started looking keenly at the budget for Arthur & Lancelot in mid-December.

Now the production offices for the live-action Akira have reportedly been closed and the film put on hold while WB figures out how much the film is really going to cost, and decides whether that money will be well-spent. Read More »

slashfilmcast550

This week, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley chat about the virtues of the Elite Squad films, praise Puss in Boots as a film better than its marketing would suggest, and try not to lose all hope in John Carter and the live action Akira remake. Special guest Eric D. Snider joins us from Film.com and Movie BS. Also, correction: Cell 211 is available on Netflix in what appears to be a region 1 DVD!

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Sunday (12/11) at Slashfilm’s live page at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST, where we’ll be reviewing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Check out this Tor.com essay on Akira.

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With any remake, one of the biggest questions is how closely it’ll hew to the source material. In the case of Jaume Collet-Serra‘s live-action, English-language Akira, we already know that the action has been moved from neo-Tokyo to neo-Manhattan, and that Warner Bros. has tapped the Caucasian, late-20s Garrett Hedlund to star as Kaneda, originally written as a Japanese teenager. A lot of our other assumptions so far, however, have simply been based on our knowledge of the previous film.

Now a recent casting call has revealed a synopsis of the plot, shedding some light on what we can and can’t expect to see changed in Collet-Serra’s version. For the most part the story seems to have made the move to our shores intact, though there are some noteworthy edits. Read more after the jump.

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Say what you will about Jaume Collet-Serra‘s live-action Akira, but the casting folks have been making some pretty intriguing choices so far. Okay, so Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart haven’t exactly gone over great with the fans. But the first two actors we heard of getting offers were Helena Bonham Carter and Gary Oldman, with Keira Knightley being “approached” at some point and the likes of Michael Pitt and Paul Dano testing for the part of Tetsuo.

Now the bad news is that Warner Bros. has been unable to close its deal with Oldman — but on the plus side, they’ve given the offer to Ken Watanabe to replace him. More details after the jump.

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At this point I’d be lying if I claimed I knew what to expect from the live-action version of Akira that Jaume Collet-Serra will direct early next year. The film is budgeted in the $90m range — not a lot to create a post-apocalypse future version of Manhattan in which motorcycle gangs do battle as a precursor to psychically-powered mayhem. We know that Garrett Hedlund is playing Kaneda, a biker gang leader whose brother, Tetsuo, is wounded and finds his own psychic power awakened, leading to madness.

We don’t know who will play Tetsuo, but a new list of actors testing for the role includes surprising names like Michael Pitt, Alden Ehrenreich and Paul Dano. Read More »

Sharon Stone was a big deal in the ’90s thanks to Basic Instinct in 1992, but she’s got a lower profile lately. She’s been working very steadily, but it doesn’t feel that way. I can’t remember the last time I saw a memorable Stone performance. Probably either Broken Flowers (’05) or Alpha Dog (’06). Law & Order: SVU fans would probably point to her recurring role on that show. I don’t know if anyone would point to Basic Instinct 2 (’06) even though the image above makes her appearance in that one look like a different version of the X-Men’s Emma Frost.

She might get more attention playing the mother of a porn star. Stone is now set to play the mother of Linda Lovelace (possibly played by Amanda Seyfried) in Lovelace. That’s one of two Linda Lovelace films in development right now, and the one that will be directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Howl). Peter Sarsgaard is in talks to play Lovelace’s husband an accused pimp and abuser Chuck Traynor. Andy Bellin and W. Merritt Johnson scripted based on the book The Complete Linda Lovelace by Eric Danville. [AP]

(The other Linda Lovelace film is Matthew Wilder’s Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story.)

After the break, find casting info for an indie called Wild Oats, and Ezra Miller’s denial that he has anything to do with WB’s Akira. Read More »

Kristen Stewart Offered ‘Akira’ [Updated]

[UPDATE: Deadline has confirmed that Stewart is in advanced talks for the part of Kei in Akira.]

I don’t have the numbers to back it up, but if I had to guess I’d say there’s a sizable overlap between /Film readers, Twilight haters, and people dreading Warner Bros.’ Akira remake. So I’m guessing that this bit of news is not about to go over so well. A new report has surfaced claiming that Kristen Stewart has been offered the female lead role of Kei in the sci-fi project, which is being directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan). More details after the jump.

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