Warner Bros. has scheduled the release of Taika Waititi’s live-action remake of Akira for May 21, 2021. Previously, the studio had set that date for the opening of the animated feature DC Super Pets, which has now been moved to 2022. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who has tried to launch an Akira adaptation for over a decade, will produce the live-action film through his company Appian Way along with Andrew Lazar.

The original futuristic manga by Katsuhiro Otomo was first published in Japan in 1982 and ran through 1990; however, it was the 1988 animated feature, also directed by Otomo, that earned the creation cult status around the world.

In an interview with IGN back in 2017, Waititi mentioned his ideal version of the film would be mostly influenced by the manga and include Asian actors, as opposed to whitewashing the roles as has been the case with other anime adaptations like Ghost in the Shell and Alita: Battle Angel.

“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,” said Waititi.

Other attempts to make a live-action Akira have taken place over the years, including a 2011 version starring Garrett Hedlund that never materialized, and which would have in fact made the lead character white.

It has been an eventful month for the New Zealand director. Just last week Cartoon Brew exclusively reported that Waititi pulled out of the stop-motion animated Bubbles, a biopic centered on Michael Jackson’s chimp friend Bubbles. With the director out, Netflix also departed the project that was in pre-production at Starburns Industries, putting the film on an indefinite hold.

Later this year, Waititi will premiere the dark comedy Jojo Rabbit, opening on October 18 in the U.S., as well as episodes he directed for Disney Plus’s Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian, which premieres on the platform in November.

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