For literally the better part of the last decade, we here at your humble Newswire desk have been keeping a wary eye on Hollywood’s efforts to bring a live-action movie version of anime classic Akira to the screen. The Keanu era; the Garrett Hedlund era; the canceled era, the un-canceled era, and more: Through them all, we’ve watched with a certain queasy satisfaction as Warner Bros.’ attempts to capture Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyberpunk ode to psychically distressed flesh has bounced from creative team to creative team, attempting to find a star willing to attach themselves to a project with this many expectations hanging off of it, like so many distended veins molting from the flesh of a whiny former biker turned into a human pufferfish from hell.
Now, though, we can confirm something that would have been truly ludicrous to announce a few years back: The live-action Akira has a release date. Under the watch of Taika Waititi—one of the few directors working in the Hollywood system who could be hypothetically trusted not to turn a live-action Akira into a brutal, joyless slog—Warner Bros. has set a May 14, 2021 release date for the film. Per Deadline, the news breaks shortly after the Thor: Ragnarok director stepped away from his plans to make a biographical film about Michael Jackson’s chimp, Bubbles, although he’s still apparently on track for the one about the kid who has Adolf Hitler as an imaginary friend. (Jojo Rabbit, out this October.)
Leonardo DiCaprio is co-producing on Akira, although given the fact that nobody important in the original’s story is older than 16, it’s somewhat unlikely that he’ll end up on the screen. No cast has been set for the film as of yet, so prospective stars might still have time to get their “TETSUOOOOO!” screaming muscles into shape.