Even after the departure of Albert Hughes as director, Warner Bros. was determined to continue on with their plans for a live-action version of Akira. In July, there were reports that Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unknown) had been hired to direct the film and now we have word that the project has officially been greenlit.

According to Variety, Akira is scheduled for a late February/early March filming start, with a budget of $90 million. The next part of the process will be searching for the two male leads. The studio had reportedly spoken to a number of actors previously, including Keanu Reeves and Leonardo DiCaprio, but they couldn't get a top leading actor to sign on. The latest report suggests that Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) is the current front-runner, but nothing is official at this time.

Fans had been upset after hearing that the movie was not taking place in Neo-Tokyo and were worried about other changes being made to "Americanize" the film. Since Jaume Collet-Serra joined the project, we haven't had any new information on whether the script or New Manhattan setting has changed. If you haven’t seen Akira, here’s a brief rundown of the original plot:

“The story is set in the post-apocalyptic community of Neo-Tokyo. Tetsuo is a fiercely individualistic member of a scroungy motorcycle gang. The despotic authorities, the robot-like police, and even the cycle gang pursue Tetsuo when he’s bombarded with a new, insidious energy source that has rendered him telekinetic.”

Source: Variety