Rumor: Zac Efron in Albert Hughes’ ‘Akira’?

Another rumor which is making the tracking board rounds today is that Zac Efron has apparently been offered the lead role in Albert Hughes’ upcoming live-action adaptation of the popular anime/Katsuhiro Otomo‘s six-volume manga Akira. I’m not able to confirm the offer, but one source tells me Efron is in talks, while another says that it is “far from a done deal.”

So while it’s out there, I thought I’d ask what you guys think of the choice of Efron as the film’s title character?

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It’s taken a while for Warner Bros. to get a plan together with respect to the live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s six-volume manga Akira, which Otomo previously directed as anime. That 1988 version became a landmark effort in anime, setting a bar for the remake that many fans consider impossibly high. But the anime, massively condensed from the manga and with an alternate ending, has an awkward, exposition-heavy narrative that isn’t nearly as engrossing as the beautiful animation.

So, yeah, there’s some leeway for a live-action adaptation that has the space to stretch the story out between two films. Or I thought there was, until I heard the writer of Henry Poole is Here would be penning the latest draft. Read More »

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This is unexpected. Evidently Warner Bros. really liked what Albert and Allen Hughes did with The Book of Eli, because the brothers are reportedly finalizing a deal to direct the long-discussed live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s manga Akira. Originally floated in early 2008 as a two-part film to be directed by Ruairi Robinson, the films were put off by the WGA strike, then the scripts took forever to crack and the project was reported dead. In September of last year the Akira remake was said to be alive and well, and that brings us to this interesting point. Did the Hughes Brothers show the proper chops in The Book of Eli to pull this off? Read More »

The Hughes Brothers have been absent from the big screen for far too long. Their last feature, the so-so adaptation of Alan Moore’s From Hell with Johnny Depp, was released way back in 2001. Since then, they’ve dabbled in docs and TV work, so I’m pretty astounded by my acute anticipation for Hughes Bros movies. I mean, the wild-eyed energy and knack for cool they displayed with Menace II Society and Dead Presidents made a stir in the industry more than 10 years ago.

Denzel Washington will star in the directors’ Book of Eli for mega-producer Joel Silver. Described by screenwriter Gary Whitta (upcoming Akira movies) as a “kind of post-apocalyptic Western,” here’s the logline…

A lone hero fights his way across the wasteland of post-apocalyptic America. He’s the protector of a sacred book that may hold the key to saving humanity.

A rewrite of Witta’s script was done by Anthony Peckham, who scribed Clint Eastwood’s planned Nelson Mandela biopic, The Human Factor, and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. I look forward to hearing more about this project because my kneejerk reaction is a blockbuster-drippy version of I Am Legend sans mutants rather than a dystopian nightmare-scape a la the buzz surrounding this winter’s The Road. But truthfully, Washington always lowers my hopes for grimly-sounding material. Too much the surface charmer. The writers’ credits are admittedly intriguing and Albert and Allen Hughes remain more hit than miss.

Discuss: Are you a Hughes Bros. fan? Based on the talent involved and the premise, what’s your gut intution for Book of Eli?

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