Scream "KANEDAAAA!!!" all you want, anime hounds, but it looks like Warner Bros. is about to pump the breaks on one of the most troubled productions in recent memory.
Since first being mooted in 2007 as a directing vehicle for then-29-year-old Ruairi Robinson, the baton has since been passed to Albert Hughes, and finally to "Orphan" director Jaume Collet-Serra. According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, Warners is closing production offices in Vancouver and sending everyone home packing as key creatives try to figure out a way to cut the budget down so as not to leave the project an orphan.
The money was already sliced in half from Hughes' $200-million iteration, but now the company wants to decrease their risk further by chopping more fingers off the project, Yakuza-style, from $90-million to the $60-70 range. This is partly to do with a distinct hesitance on the part of any major name stars to climb aboard this motorcycle ride through post-apocalyptic dystopia, with only "Tron: Legacy" man-slab Garrett Hedlund signed on the dotted line.
Even with the likes of Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter circling that's just not enough star power to propel a gamble of this magnitude. It comes at a time when other big tentpoles at the studio are feeling financial pressure, including "Arthur and Lancelot" and "Paradise Lost" being thrown into purgatory as costs are cut.
Still, whether the current team can whether this storm or not, it doesn't mean the end of the project, as evidenced by the twenty-year game of musical chairs "Watchmen" played before finally getting a viable team onboard. Will Katsuhiro Otomo's still-potent anime get a proper Americanized live-action treatment?
"It’s a very resilient movie," says one insider. "Warner Bros. just won’t let it die."