Casting has begun for Akira
The script for the Hollywood remake of Akira is finished and being shopped to actors, but the studio seems to be making some strange decisions.
Deadline reported the list of actors being considered for the two lead roles in. Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake, and Joaquin Phoenix.
This is certainly confusing considering the original story.
Akira is about a group of youths in a motorcycle gang. When one of them has to be rescued from a scientific experiment, it sets off a chain of events that lead to monstrous confrontations. Thematically, the movie is about freedom and rebellion with a nice mix-in of teen angst. The plan is to make the story into two films.
We already knew that the story was being moved from Neo-Tokyo to New Manhattan, which makes a certain sense for a Hollywood film, but those names are not for actors which fit the roles of Tetsuo and Kaneda.
First, all of those actors are too old to convincingly play teenagers. In fact, Pattinson is already involved in a franchise in which he unconvincingly plays a teenager, but if they are considering Phoenix and Fassbender, they have obviously decided that the characters are not going to be teenagers.
There are also no Asian actors on that list, which is not surprising considering Hollywood’s history in these things, but what is surprising is that it seems like they will be keeping the character’s very Japanese names, despite casting white actors. How well the audience will respond to a couple of clearly North American guys named Tetsuo and Kaneda is a toss up, but fans of the original Akira will likely respond negatively; in fact, I’m sure it has already begun.
Does Hollywood care, though? Of course not. Nor should they, really.
Akira fans will not be happy with what they do, no matter what it is. To them, as with any popular property, the movie will never equal the source material. Hollywood might as well make the movie to appeal to the general audience as much as possible, and ignore the fans, who will not only hate it no matter what they do, but will also surely go to see it no matter what they do.