A 2010 script by Steve Kloves (HARRY POTTER series, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) changed the setting of the film from the post-apocalyptic ‘New Tokyo’ to ‘New Manhattan’, and more or less ‘Americanized’ the young characters, members of futuristic gangs and subjects of experiments into psychic powers.
The studio has been unsure about the production’s budget and cast, vacillating between a more modest film with up-and coming actors, and a big budget epic with major stars.
Keanu Reeves (THE MATRIX) had been briefly connected with the project, but left recently, which hints that the film has been scaled back down.
Whether this has a bearing on Hughes leaving the film is unclear, though the site notes that the parting seems to be amicable, with Warner Brothers offering the director a selection of other projects.
It also looks as though the studio remains eager to make the movie, and is actively looking to attract a new director to take over the reins.
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