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Ken Watanabe Offered Akira?
In place of Gary Oldman...

23 November 2011  |  Written by James White  |  Source: Twitch

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Ken Watanabe Offered Akira?

Though Warners is likely hoping that the big problems of getting classic anime Akira converted to a live-action version and up on screen are now behind it, the issues bringing the film to life haven’t quite gone away. Despite being offered the role of a colonel in the film recently, it would seem that Gary Oldman hasn’t locked in a deal, so the studio is now kicking off negotiations with Inception’s Ken Watanabe instead.

As of right now, all this must stay strictly in the rumour section as Watanabe is nowhere near a deal and there’s always a chance Oldman could return – or play a different part. And it's typical of the sort of early deal-making (and passing) that happens when a big film such as this is being put together.

But Watanabe is a fine replacement for the part – he’s got recognition factor from the likes of Chris Nolan’s work and The Last Samurai and he’s a proven actor. And he's also Japanese, which makes a pleasant change from the all-caucasian casting policy for the lead roles so far.

Akira follows bike gang leader Kaneda (Garrett Hedlund) as he deals with what happens when his best friend Tetsuo is used in a government experiment to exploit his powerful latent psychic abilities. The result? City-threatening chaos.

So far, Hedlund appears to be the only actor with a solid deal, though Helena Bonham Carter and Kristen Stewart have both been offered roles.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra aims to start shooting in March.


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Your Comments

At last a small bit of good news on this project!
Finally a right move! Hopefully they will start to cast the rest of the roles to Asian actors rather than your typical run of the mill Hollywood ones. You can't just give someone like Kirsten Stewart a Japanese name! Or even worse - change the characters names all together. Tetsuo to something like - Tim! More

Posted by eddybaby83 at 15:41 on 25 November 2011 | Report This Post

bad idea making a live action version
i love akira, its the type of film that is so unique, that you cant just go and remake it in live action. i imagine it wont be set in a neo japan, nor will it stay true to the original book or film. its a shame hollywood is intent on butchering great films More

Posted by tomfm at 11:21 on 23 November 2011 | Report This Post

YES YES YES!
Finally, a casting decision I agree with! I think he would be right for the colonel role. And I'm thinking maybe Takeshi Kitano for the Mayor role as well I'm saying this because I still think it should - hang on - MUST be still set in Neo-Tokyo, not 'Neo-Manhattan'. Hollywood, you still have time to change your mind on white-washing this adaptation More

Posted by alsybroth at 09:48 on 23 November 2011 | Report This Post

Watanabe? Yes please! But, not for the Colonel.
I think Oldman is better suited for the Scientist, and Watanabe would be great as Mr. Nezu. And while I'm indulging myself in fantasy casting, Elle Fanning or Chloe Moretz in old person make-up as the female Esper, with Kodi Smit-McPhee as one of the male Espers. ... I could go on and, in my head, I think I will. Cheers! More

Posted by Nicky C at 09:12 on 23 November 2011 | Report This Post

Good Stuff
This is a good choice. Great Choice. Gary O. is great, but for this role I think Ken W. fits better. Also, the more asian actors the better. So kudos. More

Posted by Johnny_A at 09:08 on 23 November 2011 | Report This Post

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