'Thor: Ragnarok' Director Taika Waititi Eyes Live-Action 'Akira'

When Taika Waititi was named Thor: Ragnarok director it came as kind of a shock. While Marvel had made some unexpected choices for directors before, Waititi's track record on smallish, offbeat New Zealand comedies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Boy, and What We Do In The Shadows pegged him as something of a misfit behind the camera. He seems to have taken to it quite well, because not only is the upcoming Thor film the best-looking one yet, but Waititi is now in talks for another big franchise film: Warner Bros.' forever-developing Akira.

Deadline reports Warner Bros. is "in negotiations" with Waititi to direct Akira, the live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's manga classic, which was then turned into an equally-revered anime. The original takes place in futuristic New Tokyo, but the American version would be “in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.” There's quite a lot more to it than that, though. Government conspiracies, telepathic and telekinetic powers, cool motorcycles, broken friendships...lots going on.

I think when we first launched this site, documenting Akira's problems were the thing that hooked me into doing this every day. Warner Bros. never could get their shit together for some reason, with directors Jaume Collet-Serra and the Hughes Brothers attached for long stretches before backing out. Most recently Jordan Peele (Get Out) was named as a possibility, but no, that was never going to happen. The bigger problems have been on the acting side, with Garrett Hedlund, Helena Bonham Carter, Ken Watanabe, Kristen Stewart, Dane DeHaan, Michael Pitt, Toby Kebbell (who was publicly frustrated by how things played out) and later Keanu Reeves eyes for key roles. Of course, that was before whitewashing became such a big deal. Don't expect to see those names surface again.

Waititi's next film is the WWII comedy, Jojo's Rabbit, which he penned the Black List screenplay for. But you can bet if he inks this Akira deal Warner Bros. is going to jump on him to get it done quickly.