Kristen Stewart has reportedly been offered the romantic lead in the upcoming film adaptation of Akira.
It seems like I’ve been writing about Kristen Stewart a lot lately, despite a lack of any Twilight coverage, and perhaps that’s because she sees the same thing we all do: she’s dangerously close to a permanent type-cast.
After playing the lead in the four Twilight films (the third of which is due out before the end of the year, and was produced in parallel with the fourth), she’s being dismissed as a fad actress by critics and movie-goers alike.
What she needs to do now is turn her current fame with young female audiences into roles which are against type.
Considering her range extends only as far as ‘angsty teen’ as far as anyone has to date seen, this is going to be a great challenge. Add to that the apparent hate that much of the non-Twilight loving audience has for anything remotely connected to Twilight, and her prospect actually seem a bit dim. A shame, since I can think of less talented actors who have gone much farther.
Her role in Snow White and the Huntsman is an attempt to break away a bit, but that film will mostly appeal to the same crowd of females. Luckily, the trailers make it look as though she’s being given the chance to be less melodramatic, and more fury-filled, which may show an expanded range for her acting skills, if it turns out alright.
Now Akira comes along, and I think she should take that too. It fits her timing (filming for Snow White and the Huntsman is just ending), and will allow Stewart to play a character that will appeal to a wider audience.
If successful, these two films will work well as an "anti-type" strategy. In Snow White and The Huntsman, she can show greater range, and in Akira, she can demonstrate greater audience appeal.
The character she’d be playing is (based on the original material) another melodramatic teenager (though less passive than Bella), but you can take my word that on a Venn diagram of Twilight fans and Akira fans, the intersection will have a negligible population.
The film has hit a few bumps in the PR road, as the announcements for potential actors’ races and ages failed to match up with fan expectations (the film setting moved from Neo-Tokyo to New Manhattan), the budgets were severely cut, and the original director was lost.
If you’re not familiar, the original manga is about a group of youths in a motorcycle gang that opts to rescue one of their friends from a scientific experiment.
Thematically, the story is about freedom and rebellion with a nice mix-in of teen angst - and the plan was originally to make the story into two films, each covering half of the original six-book manga, though this plan seems to have been unceremoniously scrapped in favor of a single film.
Akira will likely enter production at the beginning of 2012, which could mean a 2014 summer release.