The anime classic "Akira" is getting the live-action big screen
treatment courtesy of Leonardo DiCaprio and a first-time feature
"Akira" originated in 1988 as a manga and then as an animated
film co-written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. The story was set
in a neon-lit postapocalyptic "New Tokyo" in 2019 where a teen
biker gang member is subjected to a government experiment that
unleashes his latent powers. The gang's leader must find a way to
stop the ensuing swathe of destruction.
With its mature themes and cutting-edge animation, "Akira" was a
milestone movie in anime and mainstream animation circles, leading
the way for anime to make inroads into Western pop culture in the
The new story, which DiCaprio will produce for Warner Bros.,
ideally would be a two-part epic, with the first movie coming out
next summer. The action will move to "New Manhattan," a city
rebuilt by Japanese money.
It will mark the feature directorial debut of commercials
veteran Ruairi Robinson, who sold the studio on his vision. The
Irish native, who was nominated for a best animated short Oscar in
2001 for the sci-fi comedy "Fifty Percent Grey," also wrote and
directed a sci-fi short titled "The Silent City."
(China Daily/Agencies February 21, 2008)