Warner Bros. live-action film adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyberpunk manga Akira will open in U.S. cinemas on 21st May 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) is currently attached to direct the film, with Leonoardo DiCaprio producing.
The rights to produce the film were first acquired by Warner Bros. all the way back in 2002, with various directors and screenwriters attached in the years since. In contrast with apparent previous drafts of the script, when speaking to IGN in April 2017 prior to being officially announced for the project, Taika Waititi noted his hope to cast untapped Asian teen talent for the film’s roles.
An established filmmaker and comedian, Taika Waititi has become a household name since the release of his first major Hollywood film Thor: Ragnarok, where he also played the soft-spoken rock creature Korg, a role he reprised in Avengers: Endgame. His 2005 short film Two Cars, One Night was nominated for an Academy Award, and his second feature film Boy was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. He is currently attached to various projects including Bubbles, an animated film about the life of Michael Jackson from the perspective of his pet monkey, and an episode of Disney+’s Star Wars series The Mandalorian.
Akira is most commonly remembered for Otomo’s landmark 1988 anime film, which is often regarded as expanding western interest in Japanese pop-culture, such as anime. The anime film is currently available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from Manga Entertainment UK, and the manga has been published in English by Kodansha Comics.