WB Looking at McAvoy, Garfield, Fassbender or Pine for 'Akira' Roles
Tetsuuuuoooooo!! Last we heard just a few months ago, Warner Bros' live-action adaptation of Akira, still set to be directed by Albert Hughes (one half of the Hughes Brothers), was getting a polish by screenwriter Steve Kloves (of the Harry Potter franchise). It seems like that did the trick, as Deadline now reports that Kloves' draft has "the studio brass excited" which is always a good sign. But beyond that, who are they now sending this new script to? I hate reporting on more "short list" and early casting rumors, but this is one of those projects that deserves the extra attention. Especially once you hear who they're courting for the leads.
So who's on the Akira shortlist to start? Well, there's at least two key younger roles that need to be filled, as those who are familiar with Akira already know. The first is Tetsuo, the character who is taken away by the government because of the powers he has. Here's the actors who have been "given the script" (and nothing more): Robert Pattinson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Twilight), Andrew Garfield (Never Let Me Go, The Social Network, Spider-Man) and James McAvoy (Atonement, Wanted, X-Men: First Class). Whoever plays this needs to be incredibly talented as it'll be a tough role, so I'm really pulling for Garfield.
As for the protagonist role of Kaneda, the other young lead character in Akira, it doesn't look like it will be Zac Efron or James Franco after all (phew!). Instead, here's the list of actors for Kaneda who have received the script so far: Garrett Hedlund (Tron Legacy, Country Strong, On the Road), Michael Fassbender (Jonah Hex, Centurion, X-Men: First Class), Chris Pine (Star Trek, Unstoppable), Justin Timberlake (The Social Network, Bad Teacher) and Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, We Own the Night, I'm Still Here). Kaneda is Tetsuo's friend and leader of their biker gang who goes looking for his friend when they take him.
Deadline confirms that the story, based on Katsuhiro Otomo's 1980's manga series and being split into two movies, takes place in a rebuilt New Manhattan (as opposed to New Tokyo) where a leader of a biker gang attempts to save his friend from a medical experiment. Despite that change, they still seem to be keeping the same characters names, but I think this will be a newly rebuilt Manhattan with Japanese influences. Even as a big fan of the original anime, I'm still excited to see this live-action project come together, believe it or not. So we'll continue to keep you updated on the project. Who do you want to see in the lead Akira roles?