The Americanized, live-action version of Akira may have finally sputtered to the quiet, ignominious end that it deserved. The project has been plagued with issues from the very start — and I mean that quite literally, because the biggest problem was the idea of this project — as producers came under fire for taking the classic anime story, swapping in New York City for Tokyo, and casting white actors in the lead roles. Then a few months ago, Warner Brothers decided to down-grade the film, which would require a hefty dose of special effects wizardry, from a 200 million dollar affair to a 90 million dollar cheap-splosion. Also, they cast the guy from Tron: Legacy as the lead. (Okay, okay. I know his name. It's Garrett Blandface. Headface. Blandhead? Hedlund! Definitely Hedlund.)
The project, which has been through several incarnations, is being shut down in the face of casting, script and budget 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.
Now, the project hasn't gotten the ax entirely; if producers can fix the script and shave another 20 to 30 million off the budget, Warner Bros might start the whole thing up again. (It's like the Celebrity Rehab of movies.) But it doesn't sound likely, at this point, that Akira will move forward in this incarnation.