Akira Closer to Casting

22 Mar
by brian
The manga that opened the West to the wonders of animated ultra-violence and hard-to-follow plot lines is being made into a Hollywood live-action movie.  The blogo-sphere is about to E-X-P-L-O-D-E.

Orange County Choppers will have a hell of a time re-creating this gem

Now comes the hard to swallow part for all who revelled in this mind opening/melting anime.  Deadline.com  is reporting that there is a short list of actors who will read for the two main characters, Tetsuo and Kaneda.  In a questionable move, Warner Bros. is considering Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy for the role of tortured science experiment, Tetsuo.  Our laser rifle toting hero Kaneda could be played by Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake or Joaquin Phoenix.  This news is sure to set any fan of the genre defining film to line up to smack some sense into Hollywood execs.

Hollywood’s most recent foul up came at the expense of devoted AVATAR fans.  Of course, I’m not talking about James Cameron’s ripoff of Ferngully, but The Last Airbender.  So many crimes were committed that the movie died between its East and West Coast premiers.  The fanboy crowd is a powerful one and they single-handedly forced M. Night Shaymalan into hiding.  The makers of this one better be real careful not to screw up too bad.  Director Albert Hughes (Menace II Society, From Hell, Book of Eli) is attached and screenwriter Steve Kloves (The Harry Potter Series and The Amazing Spiderman) has reportedly submitted a PG-13 version. 

Alright.  Let’s count the potential pitfalls.  First, American actors?  At the very least could we get English-speaking Asians to take on the roles?  This move seems very geocentric and arrogant.  Thus is the American way, I suppose.  Hell, the studio would do well to grab YouTube sensation Freddie Wong and his brother Jimmy to take on the roles…maybe they can do the special effects too.  Masi Oka could be a good candidate too.  Next, what about the cool bike?  Is Joaquin Phoenix going to don the leather pill jacket and hit the “green line” on a tricked out, feet forward, lay down street missile?  Doubt it.  Even if they do, what’s to say it’s not going to come off like 2004’s Tourque. 

Okay, let’s talk about the not-so-bad stuff.  Kloves has made a good living creating atmosphere in other-worldly settings.  Even folks who don’t consider themselves honorary members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team like the wizard’s world.  I’m still concerned a PG-13 script could kill this movie before one frame is shot.  The other thing that’s right is Albert Hughes.  He’s made some great movies (with the help of his brother).  It will be interesting to see how the man who made The Book of Eli traverse the dangers of being a boring movie and actually making it really good, takes on a live-action world that begs for CGI.  It could end up looking like Speed Racer.  I shudder to think.  But as our old friend Lavar used to say, “Don’t take my word for it.”  Tell us what you think in the comment section.

And lastly, time for one final look at the magical Akira before Hollywood either lets us down or blows us away.  Remember it for what it was and not the monster it became…kinda like Tetsuo.


One Response to “Akira Closer to Casting”

  1. auntiecarol69 July 20, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Just hoping with the new director , Jaume, Collett-Serra , that he cast young , late teens to early twenties talented Asian actors and actresses. Now wouldn’t that be a neat concept, casting thespians who are well matched to the movie’s characters? Are is Hollywood too racist in thinking only white stars will suffice?


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