When we first heard the Hughes Brothers (From Hell, The Book of Eli) were adapting the first three volumes of Akira, it looked promising. Then we found out it would be PG-13, set in the U.S., and star a bunch of 20-something and 30-something white people. This is why we can’t have nice things. Then we heard Keanu Reeves was in talks to play Kaneda. Reeves passed on the role, and JoBlo reported some great news for Akira purists:
Early Thursday morning, some time after receiving word from Reeves’ reps that he would be passing on the project, Warner Bros. shut down AKIRA’s pre-viz department and most of the staff that was working on the film was let go. While it may be easy to draw conclusions when you see both events taking place in the same week, I’m told that one has nothing to do with the other. Warners, who has a close relationship with Reeves after the MATRIX films, was disappointed he passed but are still actively looking for a lead.
When asked to comment on the production shake-up, Warner Bros. released the following statement: “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.” [JoBlo]
While you’re sculpting your approach, could you start looking at resumes of Asian actors and put the violence back into the script? Oh, wait, you said “best possible film”. By Hollywood standards, that means a PG-13 romp where Brendan Fraser and Kevin James train a talking kangaroo to box a robot to impress the girls of their dreams between fart jokes and accidental testicular trauma. “A Didgeridoo And Akira Too” in theaters this summer.