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Superhero Movies News

Keanu Reeves Turns Down 'Akira,' Most of Staff Let Go

Keanu Reeves has passed on the role of Kaneda in Warner Bros. planned live-action adaptation of Akira. Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter had reported that Reeves had met with studio suits to talk about possibly starring as the delinquent biker gang leader.

The studio also shut down Akira’s pre-visualization department and let most of the staff that was working on the film go. Warner Bros. released a statement following the shut-down stating that, “Production on Akira has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been green-lit 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.”
That been said, the film has had a tough time landing anyone to play the leads of Kaneda and Tetsuo. Since being announced in 2008, a short list of actors have been mentioned as possible stars including Zac Efron, Justin Timberlake and Robert Pattinson, but all have either turned down the roles or denied involvement. To add to the casting issue, actor George Takei promoted a “Don’t Whitewash Akira” virtual Facebook petition created by international grassroots organization RaceBending.com.
So while it seems that while the studio wants A-list names in the lead roles, they’re not going to get it without a fight. We propose a few names that might fit the Kaneda and Tetsuo roles – Aaron Yoo (Disturbia), Ken Leung (Rush Hour, LOST), Sung Kang (Fast Five), Rick Yune (Die Another Day) and Karl Yune (Memoirs of a Geisha, Real Steel). Tatsuya Fujiwara (Battle Royale, Death Note) and Takeru Sato (Bloody Monday, Rookies) could be added to the discussion as well, though the biggest question would be how good their English is.
So let’s hear what you think Akira fans. Do any of those names fit the bill for Kaneda or Tetsuo? Are there any A-listers that could play the roles?
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