“Akira” Casting Call Indicates No Whitewashing

A casting call for a Warner Bros. Pictures film titled “Box 28”, an apparent coded title for the upcoming Taika Waititi-directed live-action film adaptation of the classic manga/anime “Akira,” has gone online at Backstage.com

The list seems to confirm Waititi is doing what he says he would and is seeking out Japanese and Asian actors to portray the main characters, as opposed to previous failed attempts to adapt the property which tried to get white actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Garret Hedlund and Gary Oldman to star.

It’s not clear if the failure and backlash again another recent celebrated anime to film adaptation, “Ghost in the Shell,” had an impact. Names in the casting one sheet have been changed, but it’s fairly clear who the roles are. Here are the eight parts being sought:

For ‘Jun’ (really Kaneda) they’re after: Male, 18-24 Male, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-20’s to play 18. “He’s described as” “Sharp-eyed, sinewy, tough, handsome, cool. He is the leader of a street gang of teenagers & knows how to have a good time. JUN should not be too cool or too tough. He’s a scrappy, ragtag kid who’s not worried about anything. Your weird, natural authentic self is encouraged.”

For ‘Koichi’ (really Tetsuo): Male, 18-24 Male, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-20’s to play 17. He is “constantly forced to punch up in order to survive. He’s fearless to the point of recklessness. He is haunted by the loss of a loved one.”

For ‘Misa’ (really Kei): Female, 18-30 Female, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-30. She is described as “beautiful, intelligent, strong-willed. She is a member of an anti-government organization trying to save her city.”

For ‘Reina’ (likely Kaori): Female, 18-24 Female, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 17. She is “gentle, kind, cute, compassionate. She is a member of a biker gang & cares deeply for Koichi.”

‘Yakamatsu’ (likely Yamagata): Male, 18-24 Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 18. He is said to be “Large, tough, loyal, short-fused. A member of Jun’s gang & a close friend.”

‘Yuki’ (likely Kaisuke): Male, 18-24 Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 16. He’s “a small, clever, brainy technical wiz, he is the youngest member of Jun’s street gang.”

‘Gen’ (likely Takashi or Masaru): Male, 10-12 Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus), age 10. Described as “a small, mysterious boy on an urgent mission; he is humble, shy, compassionate & wise beyond his years”.

‘Aimi’ (likely ‘Kiyoko’): Female, 10-12 Female, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus), age 10. She’s “a mysterious girl on an urgent mission; she is kind, gentle, compassionate & wise beyond her years.”

The casting call sheet does not list any dates for the project. Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” is expected to play the Fall film festival circuit and more answers about this production will probably be forthcoming then.

Source: CBM