"Thor: Ragnarok" director Taika Waititi says he will not whitewash the live-action adaptation of "Akira." This is after he revealed that he was approached to direct the feature film although he was reserved and non-committal about the prospect.
According to Waititi, there had been "talks" about adapting the anime film. However, it alternated between speaking about the project in the past and present tense even as he offered his thoughts on how he would approach to adapting and choosing the cast.
Warner Bros. has been looking to adapt the anime film for years. However, Waititi said that he does not want a remake but rather a faithful adaptation of the original source material.
"I actually love the books," Waititi told IGN, teasing that his adaptation won't be based on the landmark 1988 anime film. "I love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books."
Hollywood's track record for adapting animated series and films featuring ethnically diverse characters hasn't been very stunning which is probably many fans are worried. After the recent whitewashing fiasco with the "Ghost in the Shell" adaptation, many are wary about any plans to adapt future anime films, especially one as venerated as "Akira."
Fortunately, Waititi seems to understand what fans want in a live-action adaptation. That means no more whitewashing as well casting actors with the right ethnicity.
"Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent," he said. "Yeah, I'd probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books."
While Waititi's vision seems to be the way to go, he hasn't confirmed if he will be directing "Akira." With an impending hit movie in "Thor: Ragnarok," he might have more films lined up which could prevent him from directing the film.
This seems to be the case as Taika Waititi's next directorial project is expected to be the World War II dramedy "Jojo Rabbit," which reportedly begins filming next spring.