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Keanu Reeves To Get The $230 Million 'Akira' Off The Ground?

by Kevin Jagernauth
May 6, 2011 6:09 AM
11 Comments
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After every young white boy in Hollywood was shortlisted for "Akira" -- Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy for Tetsuo and Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix for Kaneda -- Warner Bros. suddenly seemed to realize they needed a big-name, worldwide, bankable star to make this expensive movie work. So get ready to hit the comments section with your complaints on the next choice.

Reports have surfaced -- with bits of info pulled together from Vulture and THR; each has info the other doesn't -- that much older and partially Asian dude Keanu Reeves is in early talks to take the role of Kaneda in the film. With a budget said to be in the neighborhood of $230 million, this pic would need to be a megasized hit to make back its coin. Apparently both Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling were offered and passed on the part, but frankly, we don't see either of them really being interested in the first place.

The PG-13, two-film franchise -- though it's unclear if the budget number is for both films or just one -- will find the story relocated to New Manhattan with the first film being adapted from books 1-3 of the manga (though why they didn’t change the names of the characters as well is a little odd). The feeling around the studio is that if Reeves signs on, it will entice another big name to come on board as well.

So, another step for the long-gestating Albert Hughes project that will surely raise more ire from the fan faithful. Seems the studio is not really sure what it wants to do with the cast -- Reeves is quite a bit of a different step than anyone named before -- though we understand their desire to get a globally viable star on the marquee and posters. But who else might sign on remains to be seen.

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11 Comments

  • faiza464 | May 7, 2011 5:36 AMReply

    white , age, fame and super star is Robert Patinson if he find a good director. I think he is the beast of all.

  • jamie | May 7, 2011 5:04 AMReply

    Keanu gets such a bad rap. I find him really relateable and watchable on screen. No, he's not Olivier, but he sells his characters. And in action especially, he has what it takes to keep an audience invested.

    That said, this sounds terrible and I hope he finds a better project.

  • mugwort | May 6, 2011 11:36 AMReply

    Please note I confess only part of my reply is related to Akira's whitewash. I am on pretty much the same wavelength as George Takei I am not Asian. This is a statement not a judgement of neither or negative or positive. Its just a fact.

    My thoughts on Joaquin Phoenix not getting the part of Kaneda in the Hughes bros movie Akira.For one thing there were several actors up for the part. One of the things I learned here in imdb just how competitive the movie business is. There was of course no guarantee any of them would be picked. I am not that upset JP not getting the role. There are many Asian Americans who are up in arms only white actors were being considered. Since Akira was a Japanese film to me they are right. Plus many Akira fans of whatever ethnic background considered the film should only be of young 20 something actors. Most of the ones considered were at least in their 30s. Keanu Reeves is 47.
    I think Phoenix is a much better actor than Reeves. OTOH that's not saying much. Most are much better. The one thing Keanu has going for him imho is he looks somewhat Oriental with his Polynesian background. JP is a significantly better actor. Heck he's one of the best actors in film.

  • Rufus | May 6, 2011 11:30 AMReply

    I was under the impression that the studios liked making money. Hope they have a good script at least.

  • Josh | May 6, 2011 11:30 AMReply

    Hopefully this is some kind of sick joke. He already ruined Constantine. Although PG-13 means it will be utter hump anyway.

  • blahdahman | May 6, 2011 11:05 AMReply

    Clint Eastwood for Tetsuo. How in the hell can a role be right for Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, and Keanu freaking Reeves? How?!!!!!!!! The ages and level of acting are all over the place. $230 Mil dollars Warner Brothers? That's James Cameron money. Somebody should get bitchslapped. Hard..

  • Redletterprints | May 6, 2011 7:47 AMReply

    I guess teenage Japanese kids means 40 year old white men.

    Now I know.

  • Alex | May 6, 2011 7:20 AMReply

    He's partially Asian, that could be a plus 1 after all the negative comments. Terrible actor, nice guy, I love his movies tough, not sure why!. Age is the problem.

  • KT | May 6, 2011 6:30 AMReply

    ... for fuck's sake...

  • Gabe Toro | May 6, 2011 6:23 AMReply

    So, again, race is an issue, since all rumored candidates are lilywhite...

    but age doesn't really matter at all, does it?

  • Serena | May 6, 2011 6:22 AMReply

    The Hughes brothers (Albert and Allen) are partly Armenian. A lot of people don't know that.

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