Warner Bros Shuts Down Production of the AKIRA Live-Action Adaptation

Once again, the adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's classic manga which was scheduled to star Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart, has been put on hold due to budget concerns.

Akira, a live-action sci-fi adaptation of the popular manga, has been in development for some time under Leonardo DiCaprio's film company Appian Way with Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men) having written the script. Warner Bros recently picked up the project with a revised budget of $90 million and directer Jaume Collett-Serra (Unknown) will be at the helm. Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) has landed film's lead role Kaneda, while no other actors have officially been revealed. Recent casting rumors included Kristen Stewart as Ky, Ken Watanabe as The Colonel, and Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Miyako.

Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Akira is being put on hold while the filmmakers reassess casting and budget issues:

"The project, which has been through several incarnations, is being shut down in the face of casting and budgetary issues. The production offices in Vancouver are being closed, with below-the-line talent and crew told to stop working. “Everybody is being sent home,” according to an insider. Producers, which include Appian Way’s Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar, will hunker down with director Jaume Collet-Serra for the next two weeks to iron out the script. It is unclear if Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves, who did a pricey rewrite on the project a year ago, will be brought in to help out. If the issues cannot be resolved, the project could end up being shelved entirely, say insiders."

Though not confirmed by the studio, this synopsis has been touted as official by several news outlets over the past several months:

Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother, Tetsuo, is abducted by government agents led by The Colonel. Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers.

Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind. Kaneda clashes with The Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island, as he did thirty years ago.