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Morgan Freeman Circling 'Akira,' Zac Efron Offered Lead Role

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 8, 2010 at 5:13AM

Steam is beginning to build around Warner Bros. remake of the classic anime "Akira" with some interesting names being thrown around. But first a quick history recap: In February of this year, directing duo Allen and Albert Hughes were brought on to direct the film and this summer, Albert Torres ("Henry Poole Is Here") was hired to pen a new draft of the script with a due date of September. The project will be a two-film, PG-13 adaptation of the manga with the Hughes Brothers currently only on board for the first section which will bring books 1-3 of the series to the big screen. And it now looks like all systems are go as casting is tentatively beginning on the film.
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Steam is beginning to build around Warner Bros. remake of the classic anime "Akira" with some interesting names being thrown around. But first a quick history recap: In February of this year, directing duo Allen and Albert Hughes were brought on to direct the film and this summer, Albert Torres ("Henry Poole Is Here") was hired to pen a new draft of the script with a due date of September. The project will be a two-film, PG-13 adaptation of the manga with the Hughes Brothers currently only on board for the first section which will bring books 1-3 of the series to the big screen. And it now looks like all systems are go as casting is tentatively beginning on the film.

Late last week /Film perused some tracking boards and discovered that Zac Efron was being offered the lead role of Shotaro Kaneda (a name that is sure to be changed unless WB plans for the part to be played with Mickey Rooney offensiveness) while Bloody Digusting has revealed that Morgan Freeman is circling the role of the Colonel. We shouldn't have to say this, but this is probably very early, very preliminary so don't be surprised if neither of those names stick.

If you're still in the dark as to why the geek set are flipping out about this, "Akira" is based on a treasured manga that was turned into a mind-bending 1988 film by Shotaro Kaneda Katsuhiro Ôtomo that developed a cult following. A Hollywood remake has been in development for years and fans have always been wary of a watered-down blockbuster take on the material, hence furor in some circles regarding Efron's name being tossed in the ring.

At any rate, it's very early days on the project and we're sure more names will crop up in the ensuing weeks, but if anything, it certainly seems like development is moving forward to get this in front of cameras next year.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Albert & Allen Hughes, Genre Films, Zac Efron, Morgan Freeman, Akira (Remake)


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