"Live-action remake based on the anime." It's those words that make an average anime fan quake with fear. Past attempts from Hollywood, such as Dragonball Evolution, Speed Racer, and Fist of the North Star, failed utterly both to understand the source material and gain an audience.
Now, Warner Bros remake of Akira is looming ever closer to becoming a reality. The possible movie's director, Jaume Collet Serra (he's been on and off the project, and currently back on it), gave an interview with Coming Soon (his latest movie Non-Stop starring Liam Nesson is about to be released into theaters).
In the course of the interview, Serra had this to say about the original anime movie:
CS: And we all have that original anime, it's there, nothing can sully it, so if you were going to do it in live-action one would hope you would bring something new to the table. 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.
CS: 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.
CS: They're ciphers.
Collet-Serra: Yeah. So hopefully in my version that will be strong, and you'll have a story that happens in that world that will show you a little bit of the mystery. 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.
Well to showcase, how wrong this I've consulted our resident anime expert, sdsichero, for his own thoughts on the quotes from Collet-Serra and why anyone on this project should be worried:
It sounds like the guy is directing after reading the cliff notes or something. Yes, the protagonists do bad things sometimes, they are not squeaky clean... but that arguably makes them more interesting. They are the ordinary riff raff that take on a larger role (good and evil) in a very corrupt world. Everything does change when you adapt something into another media, however the way the guy talks seems like he doesn't respect (though he says he does) the source or doesn't understand it.
We would also be remiss if we didn't also point out Coming Soon's error in claiming "you literally never see the main character that is the namesake of the film." Really? "Literally?"
MY GAWD Akira literally does appear in Akira. I guess someone at Coming Soon hasn't actually watched the movie, have they? As for Serra's words, I disagree with him as well. Tetsou and Kanaeda had to be like they were in the movie. They were our window to the larger events that happened around them and how their own journeys throughout the movie lead them to the climax. That and the fact that it's a freaking amazing movie are the reasons Akira is still talked about to this day, and is one of the few animes close to being a household name.
Do you agree or disagree with the director and his view on the characters of the original 1988 film based on the manga? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the forum or Facebook. It's quite obvious the opiniona of Collet-Serra are unlikely to get much positive attention for his project (which is still in developmental hell).