Keanu Reeves has passed on the lead role in the project. Warner Bros has also fired much of the pre-visualization department. Does this mean the live-action Akira remake is dead? Unfortunately, probably not. Here’s the official statement from the big WB,
Production on Akira has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been greenlit and is still very much in the development stage. The exploratory process is crucial to a project of this magnitude, and we will continue to sculpt our approach to making the best possible film.
I’m of the mind that Akira is film we should not tamper with. The animated classic is already in peak perfection, anything we Americans do will most likely only cheapen it. Hollywood is already attempting to white-wash the entire project by seeking non-Asian actors for the roles. Reeves himself was offered the starring role of Kaneda and he’s quite clearly not Asian. Neither were Brad Pitt, James Franco and Ryan Gosling who were offered the role before him. And it’s not that I think these actors would do crummy jobs, quite the contrary, but seriously, there is no Asian actor who could do justice to the role of Kaneda? Of course like most things in Hollywood they want a big name attached to bring in the big bucks. But money is the wrong reason to remake Akira, you schmucks!
It’s interesting they fired such a big chunk of their pre-visualization department, too. If they are still committed to the the project they want something different than what had been presented to them. The film has yet to be greenlit so much of it’s development is still up in the air.
Hopefully these little setbacks will give Warner Bros either the chance to not do to film, like they probably should, or at least give them a chance to do the remake right. What do you think are the chances of us ever seeing this long-rumored Akira film? And are you even interested?