So we've know that there's been a live-action adaptation of the manga/anime classic Akira in the works for a while now -- literally for years.
In the last year, the project has seen some major developments, with the Hughes Brothers attached to direct and an allegedly epic screenplay by Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves. There was a moment late last year when Zac Efron was rumored to be attached to the project, but that thankfully didn't pan out.
The studio has its eye on possible stars for the movie... and surprise, surprise, the actors are are all white. According to Deadline.com the script has been a sent to s short list of actors that includes Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, James MacAvoy, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix:
The script for the Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures live action adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo's 6-volume graphic novel Akira has been sent to a short list of actors. The picture is finally taking shape for an August start, following the delivery of a rewrite by Steve Kloves that has director Albert Hughes and the studio brass excited. The story takes place in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment. There are two major roles, and I'm told that for Tetsuo, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy have been given the new script. For the role of Kaneda, the script has been given to Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix. The two leads are expected to come from that group of actors.
Honestly, we knew this was coming. It's the Hollywood Whitewash doing its usual scrub. But this one definitely stings a little more, not only because the source material is a revered Japanese classic, but because taking it out of its original context and transplanting the story to "New Manhattan" completely changes the underlying issues and anxieties behind the story.
This movie could be so rad. But in the end, I guess it just boils down to making a big-budget movie about two white dudes named Kaneda and Tetsuo. Riding around on motorcycles, shooting cannons and blowing stuff up. I'm not against remakes or adaptations -- this one, and everything I've heard about it so far, just doesn't make much sense.
I'm already over this movie. I was over it a long time ago. More from the folks over at Racebending: "AKIRA" adaptation courts white actors. They've also put together an event/petition for fans who are pissed off about this: Don't Whitewash AKIRA! - Virtual Petition.