Taika Waititi, Rumored For ‘Akira,’ Talks Casting Asian Teens

Rumor has it that Taika Waititi, the New Zealand director of “Thor: Ragnarok,” has been talking to the executives at Warner Brothers about possibly helming the live-action adaptation of “Akira.” While the filmmaker has been noncommittal in his comments on the rumor, he did tell IGN that he believes racially authentic casting would be key.

“Yeah, actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me,” Waititi told IGN, and said he would look for “unfounded, untapped talent.”

This is welcome news for the Asian American community of Hollywood actors, many of whom struggle to find work and have seen several roles of Asian heritage go to non-Asian actors. Waititi also said that if he was put in charge of the project, he would want to adapt the “Akira” books rather than the anime film.

Warner Brothers purchased the rights to adapt Katsuhiro Otomo’s dystopian cyberpunk cult classic years ago, but several stop-and-go attempts to get the project off the ground have fallen through. Justin Lin was tapped to helm, and then Warner Brothers courted Jordan Peele. Waititi is the latest director to be eyed by the studio about directing the adaptation.