The California Film Commission today announced that 18 film projects, including the big-budget Akira, have been selected for the latest round of tax credits under the state’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0. That’s great news for the filming industry in California, which is currently competing with production-friendly states like Georgia and their lucrative tax incentives, but it’s big news for fans of the acclaimed anime classic who have been waiting a long time for a live-action re-do. We’ll know within the next six months whether or not this production is actually going to get off the ground because that’s how long Warner Bros. has to take advantage of the tax credit.
Leonardo DiCaprio is on board to produce the pic while Taika Waititi is still attached to direct. We haven’t heard much about the progress of this project for some time, so this news helps to reorient the time table. The last thing we did hear was that Waititi aimed to adapt writer/illustrator Katsuhiro Otomo‘s manga rather than remake the fan-favorite 1988 anime feature, and that he’d be casting Asian teenagers in the leads, which both befits the source material and avoids a Whitewashing PR disaster. However, it remains to be seen just how Waititi’s filmmaking and storytelling sensibilities will impact Akira, a story that certainly has its quirks and comedic moments but ultimately takes some serious turns. I live to be surprised.
Here’s how the California Film Commission announced the news:
Set in Tokyo in the year 2060, Warner Bros.’ Leonardo DiCaprio produced “Akira” will generate an estimated $92 million in qualified spending. This figure includes $43 million in wages to 200 below-the-line crew members and more than 5,000 extras/stand-ins. With a tax credit reservation of $18.5 million, the project is scheduled to film entirely in California over the course of 71 filming days.
“We are thrilled with the opportunity to shoot ‘Akira’ in California,” said Ravi Mehta, Warner Bros. Pictures EVP of physical production and finance. “The availability of top-notch crew members, plus the wide variety of location choices and predictable weather are second to none.”
For the long-in-development history of Akira and its many fits and starts.