‘Thor’ Director Taika Waititi Says He Would Never Whitewash ‘Akira’ Live-Action Remake

Whenever a beloved anime property is revealed to be getting a Hollywood remake, fans are immediately reminded of the travesties that have come before it.

This is mostly because Hollywood studios have long been in denial that a Whitewashed casting and a dumbed down story will no longer appeal to the fans of the source material and even the rest of the general viewing public.

So when a planned live-action feature film adaptation of Akira made headlines months ago, many fans were worried that it will be another “Dragonball: Evolution”, “The Last Airbender”, or “Ghost in the Shell” in the making.

Warner Bros. has had the film “in development” for years now but it was just last month when Deadline broke the story that “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi was in talks to helm the project.

In a recent interview with IGN, Waititi was quick to address whitewashing concerns and revealed how he would go about adapting the material.

“I was in talks to do that, for sure, and something that I was very passionate about — am passionate about,” said Waititi, when asked to confirm if he has been signed up to direct “Akira”.

The director added that he would rather adapt the original 6-volume graphic novel source material instead of remaking that classic anime movie that was released in 1988.

“I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books,” Waititi said.

Early casting choices floated back in 2011 for a live-action “Akira” movie included Hollywood stars Kristen Stewart, Dane DeHaan, and Garrett Hedlund. Thankfully, the project failed to get traction then.   

Asked about his casting preference, Waititi said he would rather cast Asian actors if he does end up directing Akira.

“Yeah. actually, Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books,” Waititi was quoted as saying.

The popular Japanese manga series, written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo, is a cyberpunk action adventure set in the fictional post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo. First serialized in the pages of Young Magazine from 1982 until 1990, Akira was later collected into six volumes by its publisher Kodansha.

Feature image  via Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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