Akira Casting News! Kaneda Comes To Life!

Akira, the 1988 classic cyberpunk anime epic directed by Katsuhiro Otomo from his own manga series is one of those properties which many would argue doesn’t need to be remade. However much the idea of a live action remake may repel fans initially, the prospect of seeing Neo Tokyo come to life is intriguing. After years of development and rumours, the budget has been set (a surprisingly low $90 million) and casting has finally begun.

The big news today is that of Tron Legacy‘s Garrett Hedlund, who has been offered the role of Kaneda, the leader of a biker gang on a mission to rescue his best friend, Tetsuo, from government experiments. It is discovered that Tetsuo possess incredible psychokinetic powers reminiscent of the titular character who destroyed Tokyo thirty one years previous to the 2019 setting.

27 year old Hedlund has proven himself to be a solid actor and no doubt his light-cycle action in Tron: Legacy helped in the casting, but some wonder how he can hold on to his character’s name as it would be hard for American actors to be taken seriously as Japanese characters. Warner Bros, who are producing the film, have suggested the action might take place in a Neo-Manhattan instead thus solving the issue of names.

Keira Knightley, Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham- Carter have also been approached for roles in Akira  but nothing has yet been confirmed. The big question now is who will play Tetsuo?

Warners have had a good track record of producing darker epics (Chris Nolan‘s Batman Trilogy, The Matrix, Inception and Harry Potter) and knows how to handle a franchise. Akira might even be split in to two films to allow room for material from the manga left out of the film. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way are producing and Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves is on board as screenwriter. There’s a lot of strong talent involved which should be some reassurance for nervous fans.

Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Orphan) is currently attached to direct and filming is scheduled to begin February/ March 2012.

Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3 

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