Contact Us

‘AKIRA’ Live-Action Film Dead, Chris Weston’s Bike Redesign Lost to the Ages

UPDATE: Nevermind, Live-Action AKIRA Film Still Happening with ‘Unknown’ Director

In what is possibly the best comics-to-film news we’ll report this year, the live-action American adaptation of AKIRA that pretty much everyone agreed was a terrible idea has apparently been shelved. Director Albert Hughes walked away from the project in May, shortly after George Takei popularized bitter fan sentiment about controversial casting rumors, and now concept designer and comic book artist Chris Weston has revealed that he redesigned Kaneda’s iconic motorcycle before the project “floundered.”Writing on his blog, Chris Weston revealed that he’d been working on production art for Albert Hughes’ AKIRA adaptation for approximately one year, including what he admitted was a heretical redesign of the iconic red motorcycle used by Kaneda.

I was as horrified as you are; probably more, ‘cos I was the one the fanboys were going to come for when they inevitably declared it a travesty.

In my defence, I would say at least I brought a love of Katsuhoro Otomo’s art and an admiration of his design aesthetic to the table. I didn’t want to stray too far away from the classic design. However, one has to admit that faithful real-life reproductions of Kaneda’s bike do look a little bit “kitsch” …

So the version I created was a bit meatier and nastier: the tyres were bigger, the engine was bigger, some of the casing was stripped off to expose the workings beneath. Kaneda was in a motorcycle gang that used these vehicles as weapons, so we gave it a more beaten-up look, dirtier, a few dents and scratches here and there.

In silhouette you’d have no problem recognising it as the Akira Bike, but the lighting would reveal a whole new level of texture and detail.

There was a short discussion about making it black, but I did my bit to keep it red, albeit a darker, bergundy hue. I believe BMW in Munich had begun production of a working model, but I can’t vouch for that.

The idea of Warner Bros. and producer Leonardo DiCaprio making a American live-action version of AKIRA has never sat well with fans of the original works by Otomo, but disdain for the project went viral after a report from Deadline suggested the movie stars in consideration for the lead roles — among them, Justin Timberlake and Robert Pattinson — were all Caucasian. Asian-American icon George Takei spoke out against the notion of casting AKIRA with non-Asians by endorsing a Facebook petition and arguing that Otomo’s indelibly Japanese story and the lack of Asian representation in Hollywood necessitated more accurate casting. With respect to the casting rumors, Weston wrote on his blog that he believed “most of it was bollocks.”

Subsequent to the casting controversy, Keanu Reeves turned down an offer to star in AKIRA, the pre-visualization department was shut down, and, according to CinemaBlend, most of the film’s remaining workers were dismissed. Hughes departed soon after, although reports indicate that move was amicable.

It’s very arguably for the best that this AKIRA film is not being made, although we’d certainly love to see Weston’s designs for the film, shocking as they may be. A frequent presence in CA’s Best Art Ever (This Week) series, Weston is a superlative talent whose work you can see in IDW’s The Rocketeer Adventures #2, on sale now at Things From Another World.

[Via i09]

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://comicsalliance.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Comics Alliance quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Please solve this simple math problem to prove that you are a real person.

Register on Comics Alliance quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!