Warner Bros. Aiming For February/March 2012 Start On 'Akira,' Garrett Hedlund Frontrunner To Star

by Kevin Jagernauth
October 20, 2011 3:04 AM
16 Comments
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After some minor drama, which saw long-attached helmer Albert Hughes bail on the gestating "Akira" remake this spring, the project came back to the life in the middle of the summer when "Unknown" and "Orphan" director Jaume Collet-Serra came aboard. Things then went quiet on the project, but once again, it has come roaring back to life as Variety reports that a late February/early March 2012 production start is being eyed, and moreover, the leading man may have been found.

While Keanu Reeves was approached for (and turned down) the starring role, fans of the manga and beloved anime film may be upset to know that yes, one of those guys shortlisted back in March for the role of Kaneda -- Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix -- is now the frontrunner for the part. While no offer has yet been made, "Tron: Legacy" lead Garrett Hedlund should apparently be expecting a phone call.

To refresh your memory, the filmmakers are using Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga as the basis for the adaptation that has a script by Steve Kloves -- who has penned almost every “Harry Potter” film as well as the forthcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man” -- that relocates the action to New Manhattan in a PG-13 film. At one time there was talk of two films, with the first installment adapting books 1-3 with the sequel bringing 4-6 in the series to life. No word yet if that's still the plan (we assume it is), but the budget on this one will be about $90 million, and we'd guess Warner Bros. will see what the reception to the film is like first before starting in on a sequel.

No word yet on who will take the role of Tetsuo -- Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy were all sent the screenplay earlier in the year -- but we presume those actors are still the studio's top choices. With the project now moving fast to start lensing in early 2012, we're sure there will be more to come on the remake of "Akira," whether you like it or not.

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16 Comments

  • Sean | October 20, 2011 12:23 PMReply

    Taking the characters of Akira out of Japan is worse than taking Batman out of Gotham.

    It just doesn't work.

  • tetsuo | October 20, 2011 10:55 AMReply

    Kaneda is 15-16 years old. What the hell are Fassbender and Joaquin Phoenix doing on that list? Insane.

    This is like casting Jude Law as Harry Potter.

  • Jug | October 20, 2011 6:46 AMReply

    Fuck Hollywood...

  • Tyler | October 20, 2011 6:19 AMReply

    "save your strength..."?

    ....says person who just wrote out a paragraph in the comments section. ugh.

  • Punchy | October 20, 2011 5:42 AMReply

    sadly, or perhaps not so sadly, there are more people who love to spend their money on big summer blockbusters than their are folks who hold the Akira source material up as some god-like tome. This is why the movie will be made. No one is out to punish Akira fans. It's a shitty business. Anime nerds get the shitty end of the stick this time around, but the good news for everyone over-reacting is that no matter how good or bad this feature film version is going to be, it can never remove your love for the original from your mind, so calm down and save your strength for something worth getting irate over.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | October 20, 2011 4:48 AMReply

    I heard Garret Hedlund is Armenian. Most people don't know this.

  • Edward Davis | October 20, 2011 4:47 AMReply

    Who needs Asians when you have beautiful people like Garrett Hedlund? Can't wait for this.

  • KT | October 20, 2011 4:39 AMReply

    It's not like'Unknown was a great movie or Hedlund's performance in Tron Legacy was anything special...

    One thing's for sure - there were more Tron fans who wanted a sequel than Akira fans who want an Americanized live action remake.

    Remember how Tron Legacy was supposed to be the first in a series of film? Kinda like how the Last Airbender was supposed to be a trilogy. We all know how that turned out...

  • Travis bickle | October 20, 2011 4:33 AMReply

    Jesus, it's bad enough that 95% of the film industry is mostly white male. Now we have to see the American film industry white wash another culture's film. This is distasteful and a blasphemous to the creators of AKIRA and Japan. When is Hollywood going to quit it's racial conditioning on America's population. Do they feel that because the characters are of another race, that the film won't sell? Could they really be that out of sync with this generation?

  • Danny | October 20, 2011 4:06 AMReply

    Ditto Trey's comment.

  • Trey | October 20, 2011 3:21 AMReply

    The director of Unknown and the dude form TRON Legacy taking on Akira?

    There's no way this won't suck.

  • paul | October 20, 2011 3:18 AMReply

    akira with white actors? any smart actor will pass on this. this is a bomb waiting to explode.

  • tevii | October 20, 2011 3:06 AMReply

    Check my fake AKIRA trailer out…. http://youtu.be/40KW9Qu0uyE

    As much as Im dying to see a live action version, everything Ive read to date about it does not sound promising.

  • Tyler | October 20, 2011 2:37 AMReply

    @Punch...you're getting irate over nothing, calm down. HAHAHAHAHHAHAAH

  • Punchy | October 20, 2011 2:05 AMReply

    @Tyler, how grossly obese are you that typing a paragraph requires any sort of (mental or physical) strength? Keep on that steady diet of hentai and cupcakes. It's rotting your brain just fine.

  • chris | October 20, 2011 1:42 AMReply

    This basically isn't Akira. At all.

    I remember reading an article a while back where a designer working on the film said they were changing the look of the signature power bike completely so it would look more rugged or something.

    Go figure.

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