Posted on Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 by Ethan Anderton
Hollywood has been getting plenty of flack, and justifiably so, for the whitewashing of roles that should be meant for actors and actresses of different ethnic backgrounds. From Gods of Egypt to most recently Ghost in the Shell, plenty of minorities, especially the actors within these groups, are upset at the lack of diversity in mainstream Hollywood. Therefore, some might not be happy with the proposed concept art for a live-action adaptation of Akira that has been circulating.
Concept artist Ruairi Robinson was once working on one of the many iterations of the gestating live-action adaptation of the classic manga that Hollywood has been trying to get off the ground for years. In a couple pieces that have surfaced online, Captain America franchise star Chris Evans and Looper star Joseph Gordon-Levitt were depicted in the lead roles as Kaneda and Tetsuo respectively.
Check out the Akira concept art after the jump.
The art first surfaced back in 2014, but it appears that a good chunk of the internet didn’t see it since it’s been shared all over again online after it surfaced on Bloody Disgusting recently. We certainly missed it the first time out, but now that we’re looking at these designs, they’re actually pretty damn cool. Here’s what Chris Evans and Joseph Gordon-Levitt would have looked like as Kaneda and “Travis” in the lead roles:
And here’s some shots featuring the cityscape and some action with the iconic red motorcycle:
While there will undoubtedly be those who say that the casting of non-Asian actors in these roles is ridiculous, it may somewhat more forgivable since this appears to be much more Ameircanized adaptation of the story. As you can see the company’s advertised on the motorcycle have more than the ones from the anime, and while there’s undoubtedly some Japanese language in the city concept art above, I wouldn’t be surprised if the story didn’t take place in Neo Tokyo, but instead a Neo New York with some Japanese influence.
Despite the appropriation of Japanese culture and their story for this adaptation, you can’t deny that the concept art looks cool. However, I think with all the demand for diversity in Hollywood ramping up, you probably couldn’t get this version of the movie off the ground today. But then again, if it can still happen with Ghost in the Shell, it could still happen with Akira. But at least Warner Bros. is trying to get director Justin Lin on board, and he’ll likely keep the Asian influences intact if the project ever comes together.
If you want to see more, you can check out Ruairi Robinson’s website.Cool Posts From Around the Web: