(US), May 6, 2011

The Latest ‘Akira’ Report: Keanu Reeves to Play Kaneda?

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.

THR says that Keanu Reeves has had talks with the studio to play Kaneda, but there isn’t yet an offer out for him to sign on. He and Warner Bros. have a good legacy relationship, thanks to the Matrix films, and I guess if director Albert Hughes and WB want to age the characters up to the point where they’re essentially different characters, and cast recognizable mainstream actors, Keanu Reeves would be one of the most appropriate choices for Kaneda.

Is this going to happen? Seems more likely than anything else at this point. Should it happen? Frankly, I’ve given up any investment in the development of this particular project and I’m just looking at it like a strange beast caged in a zoo.

As I’ve said before I’m always ready to embrace big changes that are made when a property is adapted from page to screen, so I’m not writing this off entirely. It probably won’t be Akira as we know it, but there are already a couple versions of that Akira. So maybe Albert Hughes can come up with something new to present using the same basic building blocks. I know, I know — why call it Akira, if that’s the case? I don’t have an answer beyond the basics of economics and the development of big properties. The name will sell, and so that’s one thing that WB will probably never give up.

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(2011-05-10 08:07:42)
 Actually I had no idea what " Akira " is .. then i looked it up a couple of days ago and went WOW , this is UMAZING..

and I was hoping that Keanu is in talk to play one those older characters . but now with these news?? GAWD ! I hope Keanu for his own sakes reject the offer . Coz i think the consequences won't be any good for him , nor for the movie .

(2011-05-10 08:08:01)
 [ Comment deleted by poster ]
Akira - the ultimate bad idea? (2011-05-13 04:55:29)
 Whether or not Keanu ends up in it, I think that making an American version of Akira and using non Asian actors in it is the very definition of Bad Idea.

I can sort of understand that they won't cast unknown teen actors in such a huge production, whether they be Asian or not. But if they do end up using non Asians they ought to be able to find someone in their early 20s.

However, I fear that an Americanised Akira will be so far removed from the original story that calling it "Akira" would be a travesty.

GuestAkira- think some more (2011-05-13 06:05:10)
 I would not worry too much on all accounts. As for the movie, his name is added to the others bandied about as lures.
And his career is the most important thing in his life, apparently. Everything proximate to him is all in furtherance of his career; everything ultimately hewn to that objective. In exchange for his dedication he is highly-paid, celebrated and divested of all responsibility. He loves his work, probably more than anything. And the attrition of working for 30 years in an environment as specious and meretricious as the entertainment industry can make a mountebank of anyone.

The movie will or will not get made. That's just the way it is.

GuestWay too for Kaneda (2011-05-15 17:34:15)
 His career is the most important thing in his life but it's not a reason to forget reality and age. He is too old to play Kaneda. This remake doesn't sound good.
GuestWay too OLD (2011-05-15 17:35:45)
 for Kaneda

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