The Hollywood Reporter (US), May 6, 2011

Keanu Reeves Circling Warner Bros.' Akira (Exclusive)

Albert Hughes is set to direct the English-language, live-action take on the landmark anime and manga property.

Akira, the English-language, live-action take on the landmark anime and manga property, is zeroing in on its star, and it just might be Keanu Reeves.

Warner Bros. has been having a tough time finding the two leads of the movie, to be directed by Albert Hughes. In the script, the action moves from Neon-Tokyo to New Manhattan, where a biker gang leader tries to save his best friend from a medical experiment that threatens to unleash destructive powers.

Actors ranging from James Franco and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Robert Pattinson and Michael Fassbender have circled the project in some form or fashion as the studio sought to find an A-list lead.

Now comes word that Reeves has held talks with the studio, with whom he already made the massively successful Matrix movies, for the part of Kaneda, the gang leader. Reeves doesn't yet have an offer for the role, but we hear the talks with his reps have been going well.

Reeves anchoring the project could serve as a strong lure for another A-lister to take the role of Tetsuo, the best friend.

Andrew Lazar is producing with Appian Way's Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran.

Reeves, repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment, is currently shooting the samauri action pic 47 Ronin for Universal.

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Akira , 47 Ronin , Matrix, The

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