Hollywood is preparing to wreak its magic on yet more anime classics after the director of its Akira adaptation rubbished the original, saying there was “nobody interesting” in it and that he will doubtless do much better, whilst DreamWorks has finally announced its long-feared adaptation of Ghost in the Shell will be directed by the man famed for Snow White and the Huntsman.
Hollywood’s “Akira” adaptation – already notorious for ditching Neo-Tokyo as a setting along with most of the story of the original – is still ongoing after being repeatedly canned by its studio, and is now planned in “scaled-down” format which will allow for sequels without the bother of having to commit to a full adaptation.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra showed his disdain for the original cartoon version in a recent interview:
What is it you are bringing specifically that is going to make it yours?
Collet-Serra: I hope that I can bring strong characters. In the original source material, I don’t think the main characters are the protagonists. What I’m hoping is to bring characters.
That’s true. It’s one of those strange stories where you literally never see the main character that is the namesake of the film!
Collet-Serra: Nobody’s interesting. Tetsuo’s interesting because weird sh*t happens to him, and Kaneda is so two-dimensional. That’s part of the Japanese culture, they never have strong characters. They’re used as a way to move the other philosophy forward.
In a rare nod to it once having been set in Tokyo, he does concede he “is thinking of doing some location shooting in Japan.”
They are apparently planning an Akira Lite to see if they can spin out the movie into a series:
Then, if you’re interested, they’ll make “Akira 2 & 3” then you can get deeper into it. I love the world, a lot of people love that world, so why wouldn’t we indulge in it a little bit and see how it would be if it was real?
Like you say I don’t have to explain everything, but wouldn’t you like to spend two-hours in a world of “Akira” and follow a character and be like, “that’s cool”? That’s all I want to offer, is two-hours in a world you can actually feel. We’re working on it.
As if all this were not enough to be getting on with, Hollywood is now also actively working on a live action remake of Ghost in the Shell, the rights having been acquired by DreamWorks in 2008 when it may have seemed like a good idea.
The film is reportedly now to be directed by Rupert Sanders, whose sole major production credit to date is Snow White and the Huntsman.
No details of the inevitable liberties it will be taking with the story have emrged, but fans can presumably look forward to the epic tale of a courageous NSA major as he bravely battles cyber-terrorists amidst the spires of New Washington, although even in this case Hollywood will not have its work cut out doing better than Arise…