Live-Action AKIRA Update: Not Dead Yet

It's been a long, crazy week for the live-action adaptation of Akira that's been planned for some time by Warner Brothers. First, it was announced by The Hollywood Reporter that the production offices for the film (which has, let's be honest, more negative buzz from hardcore fans of the source material than any film since The Last Airbender) had shut down. "Everybody is being sent home," an insider reportedly told the magazine. The original report cited budgetary concerns but later reports, including one at Bleeding Cool, have claimed that the script (and look, and feel) of the film is the problem, and that high-profile Warner screenwriters including Jonathan Nolan (who co-wrote The Dark Knight with his director brother Christopher) have been brought in to salvage the property. The film, an adaptation of one of the most celebrated and successful anime films of all time, is set to star Garrett Hedlund of Tron: Legacy fame and reportedly has a budget just south of $100 million. With a number of stars reportedly in negotiations but not yet signed (including Twilight's Kristen Stewart and Batman Begins's Ken Watanabe), it's entirely possible that budgetary constraints are figuring into Warner Brothers's concerns, even if they aren't, as originally reported, the main or only worry the studio has over the film. The movie has been on the brink of cancellation a number of times before coming back, usually with some major change behind the scenes to keep the studio confident. Warner Brothers, who declined comment to The Hollywood Reporter, are reportedly reluctant to just let the film die. Spinoff Online is reporting that casting negotiations have soured with a number of young actors, leaving the production without a Tetsuo, one of the film's main characters, even if production is allowed to go forward. The consensus, though, seems to be that until Nolan and company get done with the rewrite, the movie is "on hold" but not yet actually canceled.