The live-action adaptation of anime graphic novel Akira is moving forward, and following a rewrite from Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves Warner Bros. has complied a short-list of actors for the two leading roles. Unsurprisingly, none of them are Japanese actors, which has causes a bit of controversy amongst fans.
Here’s the run-down, from Deadline:
I’m told that for Tetsuo, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy have been given the new script.
For the role of Kaneda, the script has been given to Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix. The two leads are expected to come from that group of actors.
All the names mentioned are fairly young up-and-comers (plus Joaquin Phoenix?). With an August shoot planned it shouldn’t be long before both Tetsuo and Kaneda are cast, however as James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are already paired up on X-Men: First Class it’s unlikely we’ll get both of them.
As well as hiring non-Japanese actors for the leads Warner Bros. has also moved the location to the US, with the story now taking place in “a rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment”. I can understand why the studio has ‘Americanized’ it ($$$), but I can also understand why fans of the graphic novel will be annoyed.
The whole theory behind adapting well known properties is to attract the built-in audience (and not to piss them off in the process), but it seems Warner Bros. has just bought the concept and aim to sell it as big-budget movie with big effects to the masses. Anyone remember The Last Airbender?
Albert Hughes, one half of The Hughes Brothers who were responsible for The Book of Eli, is directing.
Any Akira fans have an opinion on this short list of actors?