Nothing has been confirmed, other than talks have taken place. However, Waititi was asked about the rumor by IGN and he gave a sly answer. While Waititi may not direct Akira, if he had he the chance to, he would cast Asian teenagers as the stars.
“Yeah, actually 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,” Waititi told IGN.
Waititi’s answer is a change of pace in light of the recent whitewashing controversies seen in Ghost in the Shell and Death Note. There has been growing awareness on social media about Hollywood’s practice of avoiding casting Asian leads in blockbuster movies, which could change if Waititi does end up becoming Akira‘s director.
He also said that while he loved the anime movie, his adaptation would be based on the 6-volume manga. Waititi also teased that “all 6 books” would need to be adapted, hinting at multiple movies.
But nothing is ever set in stone with Akira. Warner Bros. has been interested in getting an adaption made since 2002, but they have not pushed the project further. Waititi does seem enthusiastic about the film, but he’s currently promoting the upcoming release of Thor: Ragnarok and is set to film a World War II dramedy this spring.