Eight names have emerged as potential candidates for the two male lead roles in the live-action Hollywood adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume cyberpunk manga “Akira” says Deadline.
Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy are up for the role of Tetsuo, while Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix are all up for Kaneda. All eight actors have been given a copy of the script.
The story is set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war “New Manhattan” (the original was set in ‘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 will spread the story across two films.
Albert Hughes (“The Book of Eli”) directs from a script which Steve Kloves is currently polishing and is expected to deliver to the studio in readiness for an August start-of-shooting. Andrew Lazar, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing.