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‘Akira’ Director Talks Characters, Expanding Film Into a Series

akira Jaume Collet-Serra has been on a long, strange ride when it comes to adapting Akira. The director was attached to make the film in 2011, but dropped out after Warner Bros. sought to slash the budget. Now he’s back on track with a more focused take.

“It’s different, because you have to be respectful of the source material,” Collet-Serra told ComingSoon during a press junket for Non-Stop. “[Katsuhiro] Otomo adapted his own work from a manga into an anime and both things are completely different and genius. The only way to do a live version of Akira is to take the spirit and adapt it. It will be as different as the anime was from the manga.”

He also addressed concerns that the work will turn our more flashy than cerebral. “I think you cannot make a movie about Akira and hope that everyone understands it,” he said. “Like everything else, you have to make three or four movies in one where there’s the essence somewhere. If you’re a fan, you already know what it’s about and you’ll see it’s part of the same world, but trying to oversimplify it would be a mistake. I think if at some point a character tries to explain it to the audience at the end of the second act, that’s a problem. It’s more like an existential opera. It’s something that can only be explained in the manga, and even in the anime it’s hard to follow.”

The director also talked about his desire to flesh out the characters. “In the original source material, I don’t think the main characters are the protagonists. What I’m hoping is to bring characters,” he said, adding that Tetsuo is interesting because strange things happen to him.

“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,” Collet-Serra continued. “Then, if you’re interested, they’ll make Akira 2 and 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.”

Non-Stop opens on Feb. 28.


  • JAck

    Why can’t somebody stop this movie from happening? It’s been in development hell for years, but still it lingers on like a disease. Don’t make this movie!

  • Chris

    Hey, super weird that you guys chose not to reprint this Director’s gross racism from that same article! Here, I’ll quote it back in for you.

    “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.” – Jaume Collet-Serra

  • Enochian71


  • David Fullam

    Oh God. Just when you thought Akira was safe…

  • David Grant Lloyd

    The best (and only) way(s) to experience AKIRA is by reading the complete manga or watch the subtitled anime.

  • Mister1

    Has anybody heard of this director? Because not even in Spain people has heard of him ever.

  • Tony Sharp

    I don’t understand… If they’re not going to do a faithful adaptation of “Akira”, why not call whatever they want to make something other than “Akira”?!

  • darius035

    My Uncle Caleb just got red Ford Focus ST by working off of
    a computer. try this B­u­z­z­3­2­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Alex W

    ugh… Does everything have to be a 4 part franchise now? Whatever happened to just watching and enjoying one damn movie?

  • J.p. Ducey

    He brings up a valid point that the anime has several differences from the Manga, but his vision of Akira still sounds like rubbish to me

  • Thedude3445

    Guess he’s never watched NGE or Madoka, huh?