Leonardo DiCaprio Won't Star in Either Akira or Ninja Scroll

November 10, 2008
Source: MTV

Leonardo DiCaprio - Ninja Scroll - Akira

In the movie industry, the production companies are actually the ones who make the movies, the big studios just distribute them. One of the production companies, called Appian Way, is run by Leonardo DiCaprio himself, and has been picking up the rights to high profile projects left and right. Given that DiCaprio owns and operates the company, he has a say in whether or not he stars in any of the projects that they produce, so when Appian picked up both Akira and Ninja Scroll, the assumption was made that DiCaprio was interested in potentially starring in one or the other (or both). However, MTV debunks that rumor today and confirms that he's only going to produce - and make sure they stay true to their story.

DiCaprio told MTV that "we're waiting for the final draft of the script [for Akira]," which showed up on El Mayimbe's radar not too long ago. He continues, "I'm a big fan of Japanese anime - that and another project called Ninja Scroll we're trying to get developed and made into a movie, and I know there a lot of loyal fans out there of the project and die-hard fans, so we're going to try to do the best job we possibly can and we're not going to make the movie until the script is in the right shape." Thank goodness for that! He's right - die-hard anime fans like myself know that it'll be challenging to stay true to the story in both films, since Akira and Ninja Scroll are not only groundbreaking classics, but very edgy and controversial.

I have a lot of respect for DiCaprio and think he's a very talented actor, so I was one of the few who thought it might not have been a bad idea to see him cast as Kaneda or Tetsuo. At least he would've delivered a solid performance rather than hand it off to someone else who could potentially ruin it. Now we're back in that same boat. It's at least very reassuring to know that DiCaprio is a big fan of both animes and will make sure they're treated well. That's actually more than reassuring, considering he owns the company that is making both movies. I've always supported these live-action remakes, just because I'd always wanted to see Akira made into a real movie. It's a great anime, but it also has the potential to be a great live-action movie, too.

Who would you want to see cast in Akira or Ninja Scroll?

Find more posts: Casting, Movie News, Opinions



I have absolutely no idea who should be cast in either, because I think they should leave them be. I'll probably go see them both regardless, but especially Akira - I'm not really excited about them making it live action.

Maria on Nov 10, 2008


Wooohhooo!! I totally was thinking why is DiCaprio's production company going ahead to do this if himself doesnt know anything about these animes?? BUT when I read hes a fan and theres loads of die hard fans out there, inc me, I jumped with joy as the man knows which territory to run at. He will defo get the right script and cast as he has grown in acting as much as producing. These will be a hell of a great anime adaptions with a R-rating like the classics. DiCaprio has been working like a true professional along with the right directors, he will make sure the script lands in someone's right laps!!

Fearl3ss on Nov 10, 2008


akira can possibly get Joseph Gordon Levitt and maybe Emile Hirsch to star just an idea that would be kewl ninja scroll how about Takeshi Kaneshiro to star

nelson on Nov 10, 2008


Dong-Kun Jang (Brotherhood) as Jubei in Ninja Scroll and Ji-tae Yu (Oldboy) as Kaneda in Akira....Now we need more motion towards the Wicked City live-action movie, I was always hoping David Cronenberg would direct it...Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust needs to be optioned as well...

Christopher Marc on Nov 10, 2008


i think leo should work on the evangelion movie, that would be so awsome i got some high hopes for akira

cmedina on Nov 10, 2008


Good. Nobody wants to see him in either one.

Total-Trek on Nov 10, 2008


And what the hell ever happened to the EVANGELION movie???

Total-Trek on Nov 10, 2008


Hopefully they turn out better than dragonball. With DiCaprio producing they most likely will.

Scott McHenry on Nov 10, 2008


I'ds like to see Gael García Bernal in Akira.

buzzdose on Nov 10, 2008


They always say they're big fans...maybe it's true. They should try to cast real Asian actors, but I doubt they will.

Tschai on Nov 10, 2008


very "edge and controversial" me speak english.

Gale on Nov 10, 2008


I think they should leave the lead roles to Japanese actors. If there talking about staying true, Get someone in that looks the part. What would you want to see some white or mexican dude and his name is Keneda or Tetsuo? i totally think they should be true to the film. I cant think of any movie that was made by American studios that the whole cast was asian. I think that they should, they have films that have all white, black and Mexican. Hollywood needs to broaden there horizons, Those days of one directional film making are over. I totally think the should open the doors, It would be awesome to leo do this.

THERBLIG on Nov 11, 2008


True to the original? Does this mean we get Demon rape and vagina snakes... me thinks not

Crazysteve on Nov 11, 2008


Dicaprio always takes roles which are based in a realistic'd be cool if he could branch out into something more imaginary.

Peloquin on Nov 11, 2008


I like the fact that he's treating the movies with respect and not just as cash cows. Buuut, as other people have said, if he really wants to do both movies justice, cast Asian people for crying out loud! How hard is that? What if that turns out to be the next Hollywood trend?

Alfredo on Nov 11, 2008


I think Dicaprio should do Akira as tetsou. Then cast somebody for ninja scroll. But not sure who else.

TIm on Nov 11, 2008


Evangelion's being made by ADV and GAINAX the original creators. I think they're currently raising money for it right now and looking for a director. Chances are you might not be seeing this movie in theaters until 2014. As for Akira, i think Dicaprio is too old for a highschool role but sounds like a pretty damn good producer.

toddflanders on Nov 12, 2008


I swear if Leonardo and friends (Appian Way) screw up an adaptation of Akira I will most likely completely lose faith in Moneywoods... oops, I mean Hollywood! I just finished reading THE Akira manga and it is one of the best stories i've read (or seen) in a long time! It is highly controversial, Brutal, Epic, Thought Provoking, and has some of the best moments of "holy shit! that was increadible!" in any type of media. It also has a large cast of characters that are hard to forget. I appreciate DiCaprio's statement about how he would stay true to the story, but at the same time worried that they will screw it all up in the end. I am also glad he will not be playing a role in it(Leonardo Dicarpio as Kaneda! or Tetsuo!!!... You've got to be F*****G kidding me!). Also I'm hoping that the movie will be long, around 2Hours and 30 Minutes to 2Hours and 55 Minutes at best! Hopefully they will stay true to the material, but until we see a trailer I can't be certain if it will be good or not (remember the Dragon Ball live-action trailer?? -_-)

mrmedia1994 on Dec 4, 2008


I total agree!!! I too will cry my eyes out if they wreak the movie!!! I have seen The Eye 1 and 2, the Ring and many other Japanese films before they re-did them and although the Ring had its creepy moments, it just wasn't close. Akira IS my favorite anime of all time and Final Fantasy is second because of its CGI, in short if the writers,or producers are reading thses, PLEASE DON'T MESS IT UP!!! and hear us out, the long term fans, read the graphic novel, all of them, watch the movie, and pick the right people for the parts, keep it to its originality if its Neo Japan keep it that way!, not Neo NY, its just not the same, to much change will spoil it.....

4Ever_Akira on Dec 11, 2008


Point in reference, Akira was reported as a two film project based more closely on the original Manga. Katsuhiro Ôtomo ,who wrote the Manga and also directed the original 1988 film, was not happy with the limitations of animation at the time, or totally satisfied with the original project, even after creating the most technologically advanced animated film of it's time. Time constraints and studio pressure limited the original film, as well as funding. The original film ends, 60% of the way through the Manga's story line. Ôtomo has been attached to the film as an advisor, and I would be surprised if they destroyed this film. But I also don't give Hollywood too much credit.

RabidBrain on Jan 19, 2009


I am a HUGE Anime fan, and I am excited yet dubious to see these adaptations. However, I ABSOLUTELY disagree about DiCaprio. I believe he is HIGHLY overrated. I have only seen two performances of his I thought were good. I am highly relieved to know that he will not be in these movies...

QueenCPhoenix on Feb 2, 2009


Come on, it's obvious...Freddie Prinze Jr. should play Kaneda. Tetsuo could be played by those kids who star on "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody," and only Yoda should play the role of Akira. Come on, you can't argue with those choices.

mr. Me on Feb 17, 2009


Wait, absolutely NONE of you say "go kill yourself" to the insipid waste of genetic material that phoned this piece of shit ass-lickery in via the interwebs? Shame on you, douchebaggity forum trollfuckers! If anything deserves to be flamed out of existence, it's this horrible excuse for a tidbit of Hollywood news.

TasteIsAbsolute on Mar 11, 2009


Adaptation Possibility = FAIL: Sorry but a epic like Akira MUST be set in Japan and if they have a white guy running around LA named Tatsuo, it's not going to be credible. It's like a white guy named Hakeem somehow being inserted in Boys in the Hood. Nope. Nope. Nope.

mr brown on Mar 26, 2009


Hugh Jackman as Jubei Arnold as Stoneguy Bai Ling as Poison Pussy

Fushi on Apr 13, 2009


Eh, I'd like to see REAL FREAKING ASIANS as Kaneda and Tetsuo in the Akira movie. Recently, I picked up the manga at my library and thought, "Damn, I'd love to see this as a movie!" Thankfully, I got my wish. Since I'm an avid YouTube viewer, I'd like to see Ryan Higa (nigahiga), Sean Fujioshi (nigahiga), or Kevin Wu (kevjumba) play Tetsuo or Kaneda. That's just my opinion but I don't know if they'd be able to do some more serious stuff like Akira. I WANNA BE IN THE AKIRA MOVIE. I DON'T CARE IF I'M JUST AN EXTRA, I'D PROBABLY DIE AND GO TO HEAVEN IF I WAS AN EXTRA. But yeah, just cast some asians as the lead roles, and I'd get the whole damn school to come watch Akira.

XD on Apr 13, 2009


i think leo is the best and he should star in the movies cus he looks like juba. he looks like a ninja too and i think he would be best actor for the job. i hope the movie comes out really commercialized and generic and with a bunch of CG. thats what the public wants, the public thats never ever seen ninja scroll. lets hope he sells out for a gob of money

cw on Aug 21, 2009


Why would you WANT the integrity of the movies to be ruined by Hollywood cliches? These are truly wonderful stories. It isn't The fast and the furious -_-

QueenCPhoenix on Aug 24, 2009

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