Justin Lin is getting the reputation for saving projects, and "Star Trek: Beyond" hasn't even hit theaters yet.
Warner Bros. is now reportedly courting the Fast & Furious helmer to take on its long-languishing attempt to bring the 1988 Japanese anime film "Akira" to life as a live-action film.
The studio has spent years trying to make "Akira" happen, but it's been in development hell almost the entire time. The closest "Akira" got to being made was in 2011 when Jaume Collet-Serra replaced Albert Hughes as director, but still insisted on casting non-Asian actors in the key roles.
That angered many in the Asian-American community, especially Star Trek and social media icon George Takei, who blasted the whitewashing of the project.
"The manga and anime phenomenon is mostly white in this country," Takei told The Advocate in 2011. "It originated in Japan, and of course, it has a huge Asian fan following. But it's the multi-ethnic Americans who are fans of 'Akira' and manga. The idea of buying the rights to do that and in fact change it seems rather pointless. If they're going to do that, why don't they do something original, because what they do is offend Asians, number one. Number two, they offend the fans."
Warner Bros. eventually pulled the plug on the project after Collet-Serra was not able to resurrect the film on a leaner budget. Yet, the studio just won't give up, and it seems the Taiwanese-born Lin might be exactly what Warner Bros. is looking for.
"Akira" was created by Katsuhiro Otomo, and is set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo where motorcycle gang member Kaneda discovers his best friend Testuo has acquired powers he cannot control.
A live-action version of the film has been in the works since the 1990s, first with Sony Pictures, and later with Warner Bros.
Jeff Sneider, host of "Meet the Movie Press," says Warner Bros. could use another project Lin wants to develop — a sequel to the 1996 Bugs Bunny/Michael Jordan vehicle "Space Jam" — as leverage to help convince him to take on "Akira." Lin, according to Sneider, is Warner Bros.' top pick for the film.
Lin's latest movie, "Star Trek: Beyond," hits theaters July 22.