James Franco is reportedly in talks to star as Kaneda in the live-action Hollywood adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume cyberpunk manga “Akira” says JustJared.
The original’s story was set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war “New Tokyo” in 2019. Kaneda is a bike gang leader whose close friend Tetsuo gets involved in a secret government project known as Akira. Trying to save him, Kaneda runs into anti-government activists, corrupt politicians, irresponsible scientists and a despotic military leader.
The confrontation sparks off Tetsuo’s supernatural power leading to not only death but the uncovering of the truth about Akira that the government tried to bury three decades before. The story was previously adapted into a 1988 anime film which is considered a classic of the genre. This version plans to stick close to the original manga and could spread the story across several films.
Albert Hughes (“The Book of Eli”) directs from a script that at last report was being worked on by Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus (“Iron Man”). The catch with this news is that Franco is presently being offered every role under the sun it seems, so there’s zero guarantee he’ll be any part of this.