David Lynch Tried to Adapt One of Katsuhiro Otomo's Manga for Hollywood

Katsuhiro Otomo brought one of the most famous anime films to life when Akira debuted decades ago, and his legacy as an artist still stands high amongst others. Sadly, his full body of works isn't as well known in West, but it is not for lack of trying. After all, it seems beloved director David Lynch tried his best to adapt one of Otomo's stories for Hollywood, but an unreasonable production schedule took the film off the rails.

The big reveal was made in a recent /Film interview with Nilo Rodis-Jamero. The filmmaker, who has worked with Lucasfilm on Star Wars, told the site he pursued Otomo's manga Domu after Bandai said it was interested in adapting the manga with Lucasfilm. Rodis-Jamero even went to Japan to discuss the project with Bandai executives, and the studio offered him a sweet deal on production costs that couldn't be overlooked.

(Photo: Katsuhiro Otomo)

"So when the opportunity to do Domu somehow miraculously happened, I took it to David because this is David's territory," Rodis-Jamero said as he thought back on the would-be film. "And I told David the opening scene, and before I could finish the opening scene, he said, 'I'm in.'”

After Rodis-Jamero was given permission by Otomo on his script, he approached Lynch to get work underway as soon as possible. However, as we all know, the live-action take on Domu never materialized. Bandai was insistent the film finished shooting in just 12 months before Domu's film rights reverted. The production company Rodis-Jamero approached bottomed out as the filmmaker claims the studio was more interested in usurping his deal with Bandai above all else.

"Propaganda was more interested in my sweetheart, my sweetheart being Bandai. 'Why did Bandai give you this?' This being full production, full marketing, and prints, and I'm nobody... They were more interested in getting that deal from Bandai than in making the movie for David and I. That's really when it kind of started to come apart," Rodis-Jamero stressed.


By the end of things, the filmmaker chose to step away from the project, and Bandai's generous offer went with him. Lynch went on to work elsewhere while Otomo's Domu carried on its legacy in print. This is far from the first story of his that has struggled with a live-action adaptation. For years now, plans to adapt Akira have fallen through in Hollywood with the most recent blunder taking place when director Taika Waititi seemingly stepped away from the project in 2019.

What do you make of this most recent report? Do you wish Lynch's take on Domu had come to pass...? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.