Keanu Reeves drawn to Akira remake

Matrix star is latest actor to be linked to role of Kaneda in live-action version of manga epic

Keanu Reeves is the latest star to be linked to the main role in the forthcoming live-action remake of Akira, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Reeves would play the role of Kaneda, a part previously linked to High School Musical's Zac Efron, much to the dismay of some fans of the original 1988 manga. Reeves would also appear to be a leftfield choice, given that Kaneda is a teenage biker in the original and the Matrix star is 47. However, the new version is transferring the action from Neo-Tokyo to New Manhattan, so it would not be a shock to see the age of the main protagonists undergoing a similar shift.

The Hollywood Reporter says Reeves has held talks with studio Warner Bros, with whom he worked on the Matrix films. Despite actors such as James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Fassbender being linked to the project, the studio is said to be finding the film difficult to cast. Albert Hughes, best known as one of the Hughes Brothers, who shot Menace to Society and From Hell, is in line to direct.

Akira, about a biker gang leader who tries to save his best friend from a medical experiment that threatens to unleash destructive powers, was originally a 2,182-page manga epic which was adapted by its writer Katsuhiro Otomo into a two-hour film (Otomo also directed). Despite its complex, densely packed storyline, it has gained huge popularity over time and helped to fuel the growth of anime's popularity outside of Japan.

The other main role in Akira, that of Tetsuo (who in the 1988 film begins to exhibit sinister abilities) has previously been linked to Robert Pattinson. The Twilight star is not mentioned in the new Hollywood Reporter piece, hinting at a studio rethink.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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