Akira or No Akira, Here’s Six Projects Christopher Nolan Needs To Tackle Next

Christopher Nolan

Nerds, anime freaks, cinephiles, and The Dark Knight-obsessed have (mostly) come together to agree that a Christopher Nolan-helmed live-action remake of cyberpunk classic Akira might actually be pretty damn cool. Sure, there will always be a few purists who wish no director would lay his or her greasy fingers across such a hallowed piece of fiction as Akira (not to mention the manga readers who are still griping about one of their classics being turned into the 1988 masterpiece), but it’s easy to see why a Nolan remake would be an easy pill to swallow. The man’s track record is absolutely phenomenal.

From repairing the cinematic damage done to a comic book standard (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight), to crafting a cerebral, high-powered blockbuster that didn’t come from a sourced material (Inception), to continually blowing everyone’s minds with fare noirish (Memento, Insomnia) or spacy (Interstellar) or just plain awesome (The Prestige), there comes a point when you look at Nolan’s work and begin to wonder if the man is even capable of a misstep.

So, yeah, if someone is going to tear open the proverbial can of worms that is remaking Akira, there aren’t a whole lot of people I would prefer to see before Nolan. (Sadly, all of my campaigning for a Shinya Tsukamoto version of Akira will probably be for naught.) But, of course, nothing has been confirmed at this time. We can gleefully dance around with the Nolan-Akira rumors all we want, but that still won’t get us any closer to knowing what is at actually going to happen.

Instead, let’s take a look at some other projects that might benefit from Nolan’s touch. There is absolutely no evidence Nolan will actually be attaching himself to any of these fantastical works, but what does that matter? If I know Nolan as well as I know Nolan (and by “know” I mean I saw at least two of his films in theaters) he’ll probably take one look at this list, cancel all of his future plans, and immediately get to work making fanboys around the world squeal with delight.

Ya heard it here first:


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I know, I know, I know… Roman Polanski’s Chinatown is a must-watch noir classic with a twist that just wouldn’t be able to be sufficiently replicated since every cinephile has already seen the film. I’m not talking as much about a complete remake of Chinatown as I am a – in the words of Werner Herzog, referring to his version of Bad Lieutenant – “reimagining.” I want to see the gifted noir hands of Nolan dive into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles and come up with another mystery that will leave audiences breathless. Let’s finally answer the classic noir questions of if a man’s friends are his friends, his enemies are his enemies, and if there’s really a reason why beautiful women keep asking him for help.

Any Kung Fu Movie

jackie chan

Nolan has firmly planted himself among the best at producing expansive dramas and noir films today, so perhaps it’s time he shakes things up and dives into an entirely different genre – kung fu! Just imagine what would happen if Jackie Chan and Nolan decided to team up and make a movie together. You’d have Jackie’s age-defying stunts amid Nolan’s twisty, identity-crisis philosophical wonderings. Will Jackie’s character suddenly realize his foe the entire time was… himself? Will Nolan force the AARP-qualifying Chan to jump out of an intergalactic dream machine? Can’t wait to find out the answer!

An Edgar Allen Poe Biopic

the raven

There have been many movies based on Edgar Allen Poe’s stories over the years, but a surprising dearth of films that focused on the writer’s own life. (We’re just going to ignore middling things like 2012’s The Raven, okay?) How about if Nolan takes the reins and brings some of his trademark touch to Poe’s gloom-drenched story? On paper, it’s a perfect match. Nolan hasn’t yet flexed his biopic muscles, and Poe’s life is a thing of mystery in and of itself. Historians still aren’t quite sure what happened to the author during his last days, but I have a feeling Nolan would have a few ideas…

Collaboration with Shane Carruth


Shane Carruth only has two completed films to his name, but his intricately layered intellectual tales seem to be perfect complements for Nolan. While Memento probably made more… er… sense to its viewers than Carruth’s supreme mindfuck, Upstream Color, both films played with the audience’s sense of time in a nonlinear structure. I’d love to see Nolan throw more surrealistic elements into his stories, and, likewise, Carruth would benefit learning from Nolan’s tightly crafted stories. Put these two gifted auteurs together, please!

The Rise of Vice


Vice is kind of like that older brother I never had: he’ll introduce you to a bunch of cool people, bring you to a few amazing spots, and give you some great drugs, but he also might punch you in the face if he gets bored. I don’t know much about Vice’s history apart from the relatively recent developments: the company’s rise in global power, the move from the extremes to a more normalized center, and the fact that the brand’s NYC headquarters is now in a building that used to house a couple of amazing DIY music venues. What does it say about a company that began as a home for outsiders before helping to increase the waves of gentrification (normalization) to Williamsburg? I’m not sure, but it would be a cool story to see Nolan tackle. I’m thinking it could be something like David Fincher and his interpretation of the rise of Facebook.

Beast Wars: Transformers


Because every kid who grew up in the ‘90s knew that Beast Wars was waaaaay better than regular ole’ Transformers. And also, fuck that Michael Bay series of travesties! Let’s get a little bit of Nolan love on some ‘90s Saturday morning nostalgia.

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