I'm surprised it took Albert Hughes this long to do it but finally the news came through yesterday that The Book of Eli & From Hell co-director had bailed on Warner Bros' big screen Akira adaptation, whose development has been nothing but an horrific and very public mess so far. In fact on Feb. 18th I mused that the situation (which involved a difference between Hughes and WB President Jeff Robinov over casting & how the movie should be approached, all detailed HERE) had become untenable and that Hughes would walk if he had any integrity. It took him a little longer than we thought it would, perhaps as he realised he was about to jump ship from his biggest studio film to date, but after sticking around for the re-writes and more desperate cast searches, finally it all came too much for and citing 'creative differences', amicably he's gone. Deadline say Hughes is flying in to Hollywood with his reps where WB are expected to offer him another movie soon, and in the mean time WB say they are racing forward with Akira and a new director will be found soon. It'll be like nothing ever happened, we are told. How they pull a director out of their hat after such public turmoil and a studio in WB who don't seem to know what the hell they want (first they want a big name like Brad Pitt, then an unproven box office star like Ryan Gosling, then back to Keanu Reeves who had been made an offer, and now they are going back to non A-listers listed HERE, apparently) is anyone's guess but I would presume WB will go aggressively after helmer James McTeigue. He is The Wachowski Brother protage who made V For Vendetta at the company and has that Manga sensiblity about his work and who isn't shy enough to be a hack for hire for a studio paycheque. But of course he is in post-production on his Edgar Allen Poe horror movie The Raven with John Cusack and we don't know if he would even be available. Outside of McTeigue, I'm not sure I can suggest where else to look. For the film adaptation of Akira, the setting has changed from the futuristic Neo-Tokyo to a rebuilt New Manhatten with the idea of Hollywoodising and watering down the themes and turning it into a PG-13 rated fare aimed at American audiences (though they have kept the same monikers, weird!). Steve Kloves, writer of the last seven Harry Potter movies, was brought in to re-draft the screenplay in February. The first film will adapted from the first three in the Manga series with the hope of setting up a two film franchise. They will be budgeted at $230 million and it's a huge gig for someone but who would want to work with WB when they have alienated the source material's fanbase with their intentions?