Any Colour You Like, As Long As It’s Burgundy – Chris Weston On Designing The Live-Action Akira Motorbike

Comics artist Chris Weston has spent the last year creating design work for the now-floundering Akira live-action movie. And his non-disclosure agreement means that he can’t show his work off or even talk that much about it.

But he can talk about his approach. He writes;

On my first day on the job I was asked to “redesign the bike”! Yes, that’s right: THE bike.

I was as horrified as you are; probably more, ‘cos I was the one the fanboys were going to come for when they inevitably declared it a travesty.

In my defence, I would say at least I brought a love of Katsuhoro Otomo’s art and an admiration of his design aesthetic to the table. I didn’t want to stray too far away from the classic design. However, one has to admit that faithful real-life reproductions of Kaneda’s bike do look a little bit “kitsch” …

So the version I created was a bit meatier and nastier: the tyres were bigger, the engine was bigger, some of the casing was stripped off to expose the workings beneath. Kaneda was in a motorcycle gang that used these vehicles as weapons, so we gave it a more beaten-up look, dirtier, a few dents and scratches here and there.

In silhouette you’d have no problem recognising it as the Akira Bike, but the lighting would reveal a whole new level of texture and detail.

There was a short discussion about making it black, but I did my bit to keep it red, albeit a darker, bergundy hue. I believe BMW in Munich had begun production of a working model, but I can’t vouch for that.

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