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'Thor: Ragnarok' Director Taika Waititi Talks 'Akira' Remake And Whitewashing

'Thor: Ragnarok' Director Taika Waititi Talks 'Akira' Remake And Whitewashing”

The indie favorite behind "Boy" and "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" is earning strong reviews for his first American blockbuster, the Marvel superhero film "Thor: Ragnarok", and he's staying in the studio game for "Akira".

In terms of casting, Taiki Waititi vowed to recruit Asian talent for the lead roles, given the chance. There was, I mean, I was in talks to do that, for sure, and something that I was very passionate about...am passionate about. Waititi did stress, though, that if he made the film, it would be less of a remake of the 1998 anime film and more of an adaptation of "all" six volumes of the manga. There's a history of US adaptations of manga and anime casting white actors as characters originally meant to be Japanese. Numerous directors have been suggested for the task but the latest to be approached by Warner Bros to bring the project to life is the man behind Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi. But as movies like Ghost in the Shell have cast white performers in adaptations of Japanese works, the concern for whitewashing remains prevalent.

Explaining how he would prefer to stay true to the original manga material instead of the 1988 anime film version, he told IGN.com, "I actually love the books". "I love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. And, yeah, so anyway there's been some chats". Back in 2011, a live-action Akira nearly got off the ground with Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows) behind the camera, Kristen Stewart was offered a lead role in the film, and names like Helena Bonham Carter, Gary Oldman and Garrett Hedlund were also floated as possible cast members. "Yeah, I'd probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books", he said.

The Akira remake is a project that seems permanently trapped in development hell, but if any filmmaker could tackle it -and do a great job - then it would be Taika Waititi.



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