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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Last year saw the debut of The Viewfinder List, which aims to do for aspiring filmmakers what The Black List does for screenwriters. Compiled from a poll of “studio executives, producers, and creatives,” The Viewfinder List reflects the most-liked shorts, commercials, and/or music videos of the year. The inaugural list in 2010 included such up-and-comers as Patrick Jean, whose Pixels is due out in 2013, 47 Ronin director Carl Erik Rinsch, and, um, Alejandro González Iñárritu.

This year’s list has Dan Trachtenberg‘s Portal: No Escape on top, along with a few other videos you may recognize if you’ve been paying attention to /Film for the past year. Or even if you haven’t — that adorable Super Bowl Volkswagen ad with the little Darth Vader kid also made the cut, as did Chris Marrs Piliero‘s video for The Black Keys. Check out the full 2011 Viewfinder List — with video! — after the jump.

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Short film and commercial director Ruairi Robinson has been attached to a few studio projects over the past year or two, notably one incarnation of Warner Bros. live-action Akira remake. His last big project was the ‘killer robot’ short Blinky, which you can see here.

Now he’s got a new project brewing that will feature effects from WETA. If sales work out for The Last Days on Mars at the American Film Market, the film will shoot next year based on a script by Clive Dawson. The film follows the discovery of a predatory life form on Mars by a research team that is only hours away from leaving the planet to return to Earth.

A press release with a few more details is after the break. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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Ruairi Robinson to Direct ‘The Fallen’

If you don’t already know Ruairi Robinson‘s name, go back through our archive of previous reports on the young director to check out his short films like The Silent City and Blinky, then come back to this announcement of a new feature for which he’s been tapped to direct. In November of last year the director was attached to a sci-fi thriller script called The Animators. Now he has been announced as the director of another sci-fi film called The Fallen. Read More »

We don’t often cover short films for over a year in advance, but Ruairi Robinson made the great short The Silent City and was attached to the live-action Akira remake, so when concept video cropped up for a new film of his in late 2009, we noticed. That film turns out to be the short Blinky, starring Max Records (Where the Wild Things Are) as a kid whose family has some problems. He gets the latest robot family helper, Blinky, for Chrismas, but that doesn’t solve all his issues. In fact, it doesn’t solve any of them. The full short is after the break. Read More »

One of the high-rated scripts on the recently-released Brit List was Clive Dawson‘s The Animators, which deals with “a crew of astronauts picked off one by one by a malevolent force.” Now the script is moving into production with acclaimed short filmmaker Ruairi Robinson directing. Read More »

A year ago we posted a concept video for a project called Bad Robot. The footage had an odd robot, sort of R2D2 by way of Pixar, dancing around for a few seconds. The director was Ruairi Robinson, who made the good short film The Silent City, embedded in the concept video link above, and was once attached to the live-action Akira.

Bad Robot hasn’t been heard from in a year. But there’s been a film called Blinky on Mr. Robinson’s IMDB page for some time. Turns out the two are one and the same. (No surprise on the name change, given that ‘bad robot’ is fully in use by JJ Abrams.) Now there’s a teaser trailer for Blinky, starring Max Records (Where the Wild Things Are) as a boy whose robot best friend might not turn out to be 100% safe. This might turn out to be a fun film – check out the footage after the break. Read More »

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