Get Out is a bona fide phenomenon, a massive critical and commercial success that made history as the first debut film by a black writer-director to gross $100 million. So it makes sense that executives would be clamoring to suck that writer-director, Jordan Peele, up into the jet engine of the blockbuster studio system. But there’s still reason to look askance at a new rumor out of CinemaCon—where Peele will receive the Director of the Year award later today—that Peele is currently in talks to direct Warner Bros.’ live-action adaptation of Akira.
The rumor originated with The Tracking Board, which last week was reporting that Life’s Daniel Espinosa and Lights Out’s David F. Sandberg were in the running for the job. (Before that, the site touted Justin Lin as a frontrunner.) Now the site says that Peele is Warner Bros.’ top pick, based on what it heard “here on the ground at CinemaCon.” Here it should be noted that CinemaCon is not some cabal of Hollywood insiders; it’s a film exhibitor convention, and most of its attendees are regular Joes and Janes who run movie theaters in Poughkeepsie or Des Moines or wherever. Yes, studio representatives also attend to romance theater owners with flashy preview footage and big-name stars, but they’re not the majority.
Peele would be an attractive candidate for the studio for sure, which, if it’s smart, is hoping to avoid the whitewashing controversy that’s plagued big-screen anime adaptation Ghost In The Shell. And Peele’s incisive commentary on race in Get Out shows that he’s thoughtful and conscious about these issues. But Peele himself has said that he wants to follow up Get Out with a series of films about “social demons,” telling Business Insider that he’s got four in mind that he will “unveil in the next decade.” That doesn’t leave a lot of time to spend years on a gigantic blockbuster movie.
If the rumor is true, we’d have some serious mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, we wish Peele all the success in the world, but on the other, we can’t help but think that his vision would get compromised in the process. But so far, no one wants to touch Akira with a ten-foot pole, and it doesn‘t make sense that Peele, who presumably has his choice of projects right now, would be eager to compromise. Besides, we’d rather see him make a Marvel movie.