Originally, when Warner Bros. first was developing a feature adaptation of the classic manga/anime Akira, they hired newcomer director Ruairi Robinson. He put together this following presentation that has a mix of sizzle and test footage, to showcase his vision for the project. This was back in 2007, and ultimately never came together, even after two other directors were hired after his departure.
You’ll notice the test footage includes the much hated Neo Manhattan, which would have allowed the studio to whitewash the cast, removing most of the hardcore Japanese origins and themes from the source material.
There had been rumblings Christopher Nolan was going to take a crack at it, but that has revealed to be untrue. Some believe that Warner Bros. is still actively trying to get the project off the ground, but seemingly keeps stumbling with the development side of things.
This was the original presentation I put together to help WB secure the rights for Akira back in 2007.
It consists of a trailer I cut using the original anime, a rip reel of references from other movies, and a few visual tests I did in a hurry to give an impression of the movie. The whole thing was put together in 3 frantic weeks fueled by a lot of coffee.
I’m not a big fan of rip reels to be honest, because it’s hard to represent the movie you want to make by sampling other movies that don’t really look like it… and purists may balk at the “New Manhattan” in the trailer (this reverted to New Tokyo very soon afterwards by the first draft of the script.) Unfortunately they couldn’t get the budget under 200 million bucks for that draft which was a bit rich for what was proposed as an R rated movie with no stars.
But if nothing else, hell, at least I cut a pretty cool trailer for the original anime.
Robinson has since moved-on to direct the wonderfully little known Mars-set horror thriller The Last Days On Mars. He also created the sci-fi short The Leviathan, that has caught the attention of studios and might end-up getting a feature adaptation in the future.