Akira remake gets the greenlight

Despite enduring an ever-shifting playing field in which directors came and went, budgets were established and slashed and casting rumours were ten a penny, the remake of manga classic Akira has finally been greenlit by Warner Brothers.

Unknown helmer Jaume Collet-Serra will be directing, having initially been offered a $100m-plus budget to play with back in July. That was then trimmed to $90m, before months of meetings saw it reviewed again. Variety reports that an official budget has not been made public, but behind the scenes at least, a figure has been determined.

As for casting, Tron: Legacy ’s Garrett Hedlund is reportedly in talks to star as gang leader Kaneda, whilst approaches have been made to Gary Oldman, Keira Knightley and Helena Bonham Carter.

Set in the futuristic New Manhattan (a change of setting from the book’s Neo-Tokyo), the film will follow the efforts of Kaneda to rescue his friend Tetsuo from shadowy Government forces when the latter finds himself in possession of a range of weird psychokinetic powers.

The latest version of the script was penned by Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, whilst original illustrator and director Katsuhiro Otomo is on board as executive producer. Shooting is set to begin in February 2012, but with no cast members having signed on the dotted line, we’d take that estimate with a pinch of salt. We suspect there’s still a few twists and turns to come before this one is in the can…

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