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Akira Casting Call Reveals More Details of WB’s Live-Action Film

While it’s no secret that Warner Bros.’ live-action adaptation of Akira will deviate from the source material — moving the setting from Neo-Tokyo to Neo-Manhattan and utilizing a largely American and British cast — there’s been little indication of how drastically the story and characters will differ from Katsuhiro Otomo’s celebrated cyberpunk manga and anime. However, a casting call may provide the first clues.

For starters, Kaneda and Tetsuo are no longer childhood friends and gang members; they’re brothers (that much was previously suggested). And Kaneda isn’t the teenage leader of a motorcycle gang, but rather the owner of bar. From there … well, just read the story description, courtesy of Acting Auditions:

Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother Tetsuo is abducted by government agents led by The Colonel.

Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers.

Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind. Kaneda clashes with The Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island, as he did thirty years ago.

The blog lists Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Helena Bonham Carter and Ken Watanabe as the film’s stars, but only the casting of Hedlund as Kaneda can be considered even close to “official.”

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the $90 million Akira is expected to begin production in late February or early March.

(via Bleeding Cool, Garrett Minds)


  • RunnerX13

    Neo-Manhattan, not New Manhattan.  Best news I’ve heard so far about the Akira movie.

  • Another Ian

    Kaneda’s bike is a pretty iconic part of Akira…so hopefully he’s still at least a biker.

    The original anime condensed the manga down quite a bit…really only uses parts of the first and sixth volumes (of the Dark Horse reprint collections)…and this is sounding like they are condensing the anime down even more to get a live action movie.  Curious to see how much of the original is still in there when it’s all said and done.

  • Mak

    Not to keen about the changes but it is what it is. As long as the film is good I guess I don’t have much of an issue.

  • Kcorstel

    Dear Warner Bros.:

    Don’t make this movie.

    Just don’t.

    Every Self-Respecting Comics/Manga/Anime Fan in the World

  • Alan Dubinsky

    double post, oops

  • Alan Dubinsky

    ‎”So into the idea of us making this movie!”
    “Oh, totally. But maybe we can switch this thing here…”
    “Oh, yeah, of course, that wouldn’t work at all. Also, does this need to be in Japan? How about something closer to home?”
    “Hmm… New York? Brooklyn’s pretty hip.”
    “Yeah… But what about Manhattan, you know, with all the hubbub around that Occupy thing-”
    “Oh, we can TOTALLY use that! Yes, Manhattan, but, you know, FUTURE Manhattan. Like the cartoon, kind of.”
    “Yes! NEO-MANHATTAN. We do have to think about the fans and be true to the source material. Right?”
    “Yeah. Now about this Canada character, does he have to be in a gang? That doesn’t seem right at all…”

  • Drhiphop85

    I’m not one person who gets so upset about details. But I think it’s actually sad that it isn’t taking place in Japan. I mean how bold would it be to portray an adaptation from another culture’s fiction and keep it true to that culture. I’m sure fans of Batman would be upset if Batman was moved from Gotham City to Brussels LOL. I think it just is a missed opportunity. Oh well *shrug*

  • Figthorn

    neo-Manhattan. How cliché.

  • ee-zz-ee

    Why even call in Akira?

  • This should not be made

    i have one word: NO!

  • This should not be made

    i have one word: NO!

  • This should not be made

    i have one word: NO!

  • Chrismurray1992

    it physically hurt to read that, it really did. now the outlandish casting makes sense having got an idea of how different the plot is. im wondering why they even bothered to spend the money on the rights to the Akira name, wont exactly be a big draw to the mainstream compared to the actors and will have the opposite effect on fans of the original material.