Jordan Peele has no regrets about not doing a live-action adaption of manga Akira. Despite the film previously being green-lit in October 2011 by Warner Bros. Pictures, a new film version Katsuhiro Otomo-created manga stalled after Peele declined the opportunity in 2017. While recently on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Nope director reflected on his decision to make Us instead of Akira.
“It’s a project I’m so passionate about. I’m glad I didn’t do it because I feel like staying away from trying to interpret that IP set me on the path to creating something new,” Peele said. “But I want to see ‘Neo Tokyo.’ I want to see an all-Japanese cast, and I want to feel immersed in the world, the way of the films in the manga.”
Back in 2017, Peele revealed in an interview why he turned down Warner Bros. Pictures for an Akira remake. “Akira is one of my favorite movies, and I think obviously the story justifies as big a budget as you can possibly dream of. But the real question for me is: Do I want to do pre-existing material, or do I want to do original content? At the end of the day, I want to do original stuff.”
An animated film version of Akira released in 1988, directed by Otomo. Set in an alternate version of Tokyo named “Neo-Tokyo,” the anime film is held 31 years after World War III began. The film’s cyberpunk imagery has long been considered pioneering in the action genre, as protagonist Shōtarō Kaneda is a biker gang member that pursues anti-government rebellion.
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