The Akira news factory keeps plugging along, this time with news that, after the departure of Albert Hughes, directing duties will be taken over by Jaume Collet-Serra, the director of both Unknown and Orphan. It’s a choice that indicates that they might not want to pump as much money into the project as was originally thought, as Collet-Serra has been able to demonstrate strong returns on nominal budgets, with Unknown collecting over $130 million on a budget of only about $30 million. The budget for Akira is rumored to be in the $90 million range, a big step up for Collet-Serra, but not in the ballpark of many other tentpole releases.
The Variety story also mentions offhand that the film will be set in “New Manhattan,” a move that will a) explain the presence of all the white movie stars, while also b) frustrating fans of the source material. Not a huge surprise, given the casting rumors that had been circulating.
The choice doesn’t shed too much light on the constantly-shifting project, but getting a director on board might help the producers from Appian Way start garnering cast members to turn “New Manhattan” into “White Tokyo.”