Live-Action Akira Bikes Caused Fight With BMW, Ex-Director Recalls



  • Director Albert Hughes had a heated argument with the head designer at BMW over the design of the motorcycles for the live-action Akira movie.
  • Hughes walked out after feeling offended by the designer’s attempt to introduce unrelated technology and insulting the concept art.
  • Despite the obstacles faced, Taika Waititi is currently set to direct the live-action Akira movie, but it remains uncertain if the project will come to fruition.



Director Albert Hughes recalls how the live-action Akira movie’s bikes caused a fight with BMW. The Japanese manga series, adapted into an animated film back in 1988, explores Neo-Tokyo, following Shōtarō Kaneda as he attempts to stop his childhood friend Tetsuo Shima from using telekinetic powers against the city. The movie has been praised for its style, and overall influence on the genre, but a live-action iteration of the source material has struggled to come to fruition. Various directors, including Hughes and his brother Allen, have been linked to it over the years.

During a recent appearance on Happy Sad Confused, Hughes discussed why the live-action Akira motorcycles caused a fight with BMW. The director explained that when looking at vehicles, he was unable to come to an agreement with the designer, who ended up “insulting the concept art.” Read Hughes’ comments regarding the bikes for the live-action Akira movie below:

I had to go to BMW in Munich and sit down with an American guy who’s the head kind of concept designer, and me and him get into a rumble. Like we’re literally arguing with each other because he’s trying to introduce this new technology that he’s trying to put into the vehicles, and I’m like ‘no, this is what I want right here. I just want your emblem. Like can you just sign off on this because I want’ – so he’s put his d–k on the table and my d–k’s on the table and I’m like ‘f–k this.’ I get up and walk out the production, ‘Albert, you go back in there and just calm down.’ I go, ‘But this guy trying to put some bulls–t on us because he wants to sell some other motorcycles that have nothing to do with the movie.’ And then he starts insulting the concept art and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ve had it. I’m out of here.’

Will A Live-Action Akira Film Get Made?

Akira Screencap

Hughes became attached to the live-action Akira several years ago, but departed as issues surrounding the production grew. In that same interview with Happy Sad Confused, the director addressed some of the difficulties he experienced trying to make Akira, including the potential casting. He noted that while others were eager to get well-known talent on board, he believed “the IP is bigger than any one actor.” He also touched on the concern of whitewashing and the amount of money put into the adaptation.

Taika Waititi is currently set to direct the live-action Akira movie, though there is speculation about whether it will come to fruition or not. In 2021, he mentioned his plans to get the project underway and while no updates have been provided, Akira will reportedly be Waititi’s next film. The writer/director is best known for his work on Thor, and the Academy Award nominated Jojo Rabbit, for which he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Taika Waititi has been attached to an upcoming Star Wars film for a couple of years now, but it’s unclear when production will begin on that.

It’s interesting to hear Hughes’ comments about how Akira‘s bikes created an incident between him and BMW, and indicates there are often many obstacles on the way to making a movie. With Waititi frequently busy working on other projects, it remains to be seen if the beloved manga will ever be adapted into live-action. As Hughes can attest, this is a tricky property to adapt, and while there is still hope, it’s worth wondering if any similar complications will arise during the current production.

Source: Happy Sad Confused