Whatever Happened to Akira Live Action Starring Zac Efron?
The live-action version disappeared a while ago.
With the insane success that Netflix's One Piece is currently enjoying, it's only natural that fans and producers alike are wondering what other famous manga or anime could be adapted into a live-action show, and the list is actually quite extensive. From hugely popular titles like Naruto and Bleach to relatively underrated projects like Golden Kamuy, fans are calling on Netflix to announce their plans to expand their manga adaptation slate immediately.
However, the success of One Piece also reminded fans of a rather curious project that Hollywood has been mulling over for more than a decade - the adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's iconic manga Akira, often cited as one of the best comics of the '80s.
News of Hollywood studios fighting over the rights to adapt Akira has been around for a while, but it wasn't until 2010 that the world was finally assured that producers were determined to get Akira made as soon as possible - when both Zac Efron and Morgan Freeman were approached to star in the film.
However, more than a decade has passed since then, and no news about Akira starting a pre-production process has been shared during that time. It's pretty clear that Akira's adaptation is stuck in development hell, with both Efron and Freeman having moved on with their careers and probably not even thinking about Akira anymore.
But what if the success of One Piece actually prompts Netflix to buy the rights to the story and make a show out of it?
The complicated process
Even though Akira is arguably more popular now than it was in 2010, it's highly unlikely that Netflix will try to adapt it for live action, as the world Otomo created requires a lot of money to look realistic on screen, and the streaming giant is in the midst of a major crisis, even though its shows are doing so well.
'Any studio that decides to bank on a live action Akira would understand in advance that they're banking primarily on marquee value – the public's awareness of the name and the insanity it promises. Nine viewers out of ten won't be watching the show for its phantasmagorical plot and befuddling ending. They'll want a crazy bike chase with a future-80s bike, and a telekinetic crazy guy wreaking havoc. Expensive stuff,' a fan said.