By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 6, 2011 at 5:20PM
Now that it's seemingly found its lead, in the shape of Blandy McBlanderson from "Tron: Legacy," things finally seem to be moving ahead smoothly on Warner Bros' troubled remake of anime classic "Akira." The film was originally to be directed by Albert Hughes, but after they failed to find a star, with names like Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves turning the project down, Hughes walked, and Warners retooled it as a cheaper proposition, aided by "Harry Potter" scribe Steve Kloves.
"Unknown" director Jaume Collet-Serra now sits in the director's chair, and parts have been offered to Garret Hedlund, in negotiations to play heroic biker Kaneda, while Gary Oldman, Helena Bonham-Carter and Keira Knightley are all being sought for other roles. And now, a couple of names have appeared in the mix for the film's antagonist, Tetsuo, Kaneda's best friend, whose psychic rampage threatens to destroy Neo-Tokyo (likely to be New New York or some such in the re-do).
The Hollywood Reporter brings news that tests will take place for the part on Tuesday, with "We Need To Talk About Kevin" star Ezra Miller and Alden Ehrenreich, the young lead in Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro," among the names likely to feature. Both won acclaim for their breakout performances, although neither will have worked on a project of such scope before (Ehrenreich was in the mix to play Peter Parker in the "Spider-Man" reboot, however, before Andrew Garfield got the gig).
We'd probably lean towards the less experienced Ehrenreich ourselves; Miller's great and all, but his Gregg-Araki-Batman-villain seems a bit obvious for the part, and he makes less sense paired with Hedlund, who would seem more likely to give Tetsuo psychic wedgies than be his lifelong best friend. But there's likely other names testing too, so we may find the part taken by someone other than these two. The film will likely get underway early next year, for a release in 2013. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that it can be stopped at this point.