The Americanized, Hollywoodized adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's groundbreaking manga series is finally taxiing for take off. Director Albert Hughes has a script—rewritten by Harry Potter's Steve Kloves—-that the Powers That Be like and is ready to shoot this summer. But who'll play the two starring roles?
This Akira is still about about two biker-gang buddies: the leader of the gang and his best friend, who gets experimented on by the military and, presumably, turns into a city-swallowing mutant. Neo Tokyo is now New Manhattan; who knows if those friends will still be named Kaneda and Tetsuo, given the uniform whiteness of the actors that Warner Brothers has put on the short list to star.
For "Kaneda," the favorites are Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix. For "Tetsuo," the studio wants either Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield or James McAvoy.
All are totally logical choices—this is the new batch of actors Hollywood would have us believe are movie stars. Some of them are incredibly talented, others have already been at the head of massive franchises (and a few are both). It's just that, in an adaptation of a classically Japanese piece of art that's currently set in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, you'd think that, maybe, one of these dudes didn't have to be so pale.