On April 2, entertainment news source Variety reported that the live-action Akira movie will be shot in California. The film will receive an $18.5 million tax credit from the California Film Commission, under the state’s “Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0” program.
Warner Bros. Pictures’ executive VP of physical production and finance commented on the news, stating “We are thrilled with the opportunity to shoot ‘Akira’ in California […] The availability of top-notch crew members, plus the wide variety of location choices and predictable weather are second to none.”
According to Variety, filming must begin in the next 180 days in order to receive the tax credit.
Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) is slated to direct the live-action Akira film, which is being produced by Warner Bros and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company. Andrew Lazar, along with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are attached as producers on the feature. An initial script was written by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Gary Whitta (Book of Eli), which originally had Ruairi Robinson slated to direct.
In 2015, Marco J. Ramirez (Orange is the New Black, Daredevil Season 2) was hired to pen a new draft of the script.
The feature is being described as “a priority” for Warner, who picked up the live-action film rights with Legendary Pictures for a sum of money only described as “7 figures”, implying several million dollars. The studio intends to produce two films, with each covering three books in the series.
The feature came close to a start date several years ago, before Warner closed their Vancouver production office. They allowed test options deals for Dane DeHaan and Michael Pitt, who were both vying for the role of Tetsuo. Other confirmed talents at the time included Garrett Hedlund, Kristin Stewart, and (potentially) Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter.