Warner Brothers had assigned Matrix star, Keanu Reeves, the lead role of Kaneda in the remake of the anime movie Akira according to Hollywood Reporter. James Franco, Andrew Garfield, Joseph Gordon-Levit, Robert Pattinson and Zac Efron were also previously linked to the movie. But the decision to cast Reeves posed a few problems. For one, the lead character in Akira is only a teenager, and Reeves was 47 years of age at the time he was offered the role.
JoBlo has reported that Keanu Reeves passed on the role of Akira, which was another setback to the project and resulted in Warner Brothers firing the entire pre-visualization department that was working on the film. By now, the public would be thinking that it is too late for the film, but Warner Bros. had issued a statement stating that “Production on Akira has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been greenlit 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.”
Akira is a popular cyberpunk anime/manga that caused waves in the US and if one of the first-ever Japanese manga to be translated to English. It is set in futuristic,dystopian Tokyo and features a biker gang leader named Kaneda who, with his biker group, sets out to stop his powerfully telekinetic and unstable childhood friend Tetsuo from destroying Tokyo and awaken a mysterious individual named “Akira” with similar psychic powers who was responsible for the destruction of Tokyo city several years ago.
The manga is written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo, and the animated movie was released in 1988 Warner Brothers have held rights to the live-action remake of the movie since 2002 Since then they have struggled to start off the project due to various reasons. But the good news is, its release date is finally set to May 21, 2021. The Hollywood take on the movie will be directed by New Zealand director Taika Waititi who is best known for Thor: Ragnarok, and it is reported that he is to cast young Asian actors for lead roles in the movie remake.