Oh, Akira. You’re never going to be able to make fans happy. Die-hards are going to hate the fact that the characters are older than the original incarnations in Katsuhiro Otomo‘s manga and movie — maybe up  to 30 years older if this rumor comes true. There is the whitewashing issue, and the fact that, even with two films and a big-ish budget to play with, concessions will have to be made to put the story on screen.

But let’s throw this one out and see how everyone responds. While actors like James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson and Mila Kunis have been mentioned for roles, the current reported front-runner to play Akira‘s lead, the juvenile delinquent biker Kaneda, is Keanu Reeves. Whoa. Read More »

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Looks like Warner Bros. is really going to make a new live-action version of Akira, adapted from Katsuhiro Otomo‘s massive manga of the same name. And it looks like some big changes — cosmetic ones at least, and probably several deep cuts — are in store. We’d already heard that a previous draft of the script was thrown at actors like Brad Pitt and James Franco, which suggested that the Albert Hughes-directed film is going to go pretty far off-book. (The leads in both the manga and anime versions of Akira are Japanese high-schoolers.)

The identities of actors that were offered a previous draft of the script seem to be open to question, but now there is a new shortlist based on the most recent script. That was just turned in by Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, and has reportedly been delivered to a handful of actors, with a few in mind as possible choices for the two lead roles of Kaneda and Tetsuo. Among the names are Robert Pattinson, Michael Fassbender and Joaquin Phoenix. Stop saying ‘WTF?’ and hit the jump for more info. Read More »

We know that Warner Bros. is aggressively moving forward on a live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s classic manga Akira. Albert Hughes will direct the film from a script that has passed through the hands of several screenwriters, most recently landing on the desk of Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves. He’ll rewrite and then casting can get underway in earnest. (There have been many casting rumblings already, and we don’t know if this rewrite is motivated by failed attempts to land big names, as has been suggested.)

Meanwhile, a few pages from an earlier draft have been sent out to casting agencies, and have also ended up on the web. Hardcore Akira fans will liekyl find the contents to be a mixed bag. Read More »

There has been a lot of small news of late on the Warner Bros. remake of Akira, which will be directed by Albert Hughes and produced by he and his brother Allen for Appian Way and WB. James Franco, Mila Kunis and Brad Pitt were reportedly all offered roles, and WB seems keen on casting a big name in the lead.

Now there is word — and this is the most reliable report we’ve had on the film so far — that Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves is going to polish the script written by Albert Torres (Henry Poole is Here). Read More »

We just talked about how Mila Kunis may be taking a key role in Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful, after passing on a role in the live-action version of Akira to be directed by Albert Hughes.

I’d heard rumor that Ms. Kunis might be looking at an Akira role, but there’s a lot more in today’s report about what Warner Bros. is trying to do with the film. The big deal is right in the headline — in addition to talking to James Franco about a key part, Warner Bros. reportedly offered the lead, Kaneda, to Brad Pitt. He turned it down, but that really tells us what WB is trying to do with the movie, and makes me wonder if we’ll ever see it. Read More »

Is James Franco Going to Play Kaneda in ‘Akira’?

Answer: Probably not. The development of a live-action film version of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s manga Akira has been long and difficult. The massive story isn’t the easiest thing to distill into one or two feature films (just ask the creator, who did it himself in the late ’80s) much less for a price that represents an acceptable balance between risk and reward. But Warner Bros and Leonardo DiCaprio’s company Appian Way are forging ahead nonetheless. Director Albert Hughes has been attached to the film for some time but the only cast news we’ve heard since he was hired is that Morgan Freeman might play the Colonel who oversees a project to develop psychic abilities in some individuals.

Now a report pegs James Franco as a possible choice for Kaneda, the lead character. Read More »

I’ve been anxiously awaiting confirmation that Zac Efron will in fact not star in Albert Hughes’ upcoming live-action adaptation of the popular anime/Katsuhiro Otomo‘s six-volume manga Akira, but instead all we’ve gotten are more rumors. At least this bit of potential casting is much more appealing: it seems Morgan Freeman is circling the role of the Colonel, aka Colonel Shikishima.

(After the break, more on Akira, and an unfortunate realization dawns: Hollywood might make a Rubik’s Cube movie.) Read More »

Rumor: Zac Efron in Albert Hughes’ ‘Akira’?

Another rumor which is making the tracking board rounds today is that Zac Efron has apparently been offered the lead role in Albert Hughes’ upcoming live-action adaptation of the popular anime/Katsuhiro Otomo‘s six-volume manga Akira. I’m not able to confirm the offer, but one source tells me Efron is in talks, while another says that it is “far from a done deal.”

So while it’s out there, I thought I’d ask what you guys think of the choice of Efron as the film’s title character?

Read More »

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