Today’s WIRE Buzz involves a long-coming adaptation of an anime classic, an oddball genre creator’s next project, and an animation studio’s first foray into original content — all of it deliciously drenched in sci-fi and fantasy. But first things first, the big name: Akira.
According to Variety, the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced, live-action remake of Akira isn’t just happening — it’s shooting in California. That information comes from the state’s California Film Commission, which just announced its tax-credit allocations under the Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0. Akira was by far the biggest financial winner here, landing an $18.5M credit for its 71 shooting days in the state... after it turns it into futuristic Tokyo, that is.
That also means that those 71 days must start soon-ish. In order to claim the tax credit, production must commence within 180 days. So, by Sept. 29 of 2019, a new, gigantically budgeted version of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira will be shooting. The movie, which will be from Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi (at least, the last time anyone heard about it), has yet to even begin casting.
It’s called Lost Souls, which will be based on a short story by Baker about a world where babies may or may not have souls upon birth. One young pregnant woman is off to a strange sci-fi, desert-set wellness center to try to help her odds. This is just the latest collaboration between the two, after Hawley landed a deal to direct an adaptation of another Baker story, To Be Read Backwards.
No word on when production will begin on Lost Souls.
Finally, Deadline reports that animation house Duncan Studio (the company that did Mary Poppins Returns’ 2D sequences) is going original — and its first projects should please genre junkies. Duncan Originals will be the production division for its original content, which starts off with two projects in development: Nature’s End, a female-fronted fantasy/sci-fi romp with an eco-friendly bent, and R.E.D., a pulpy, sci-fi robot-oriented anthology told in six detective novel-esque parts.
“Our development division has created a slate of unique, inclusive, gender balanced and visually compelling stories, that will engage and resonate with audiences globally,” ex-Disney company head Ken Duncan said. “Our mission is to work with culturally diverse established and emerging new talent to expand the creative boundaries of the animation art form.”
No word on when either project will hit theaters.