I think I’m literally at “WTF” levels with this “Akira” project for two reasons–1) I’m a big fan of “Akira” and don’t want to see it ruined with “Neo Manhattan” instead of “Neo Tokyo”. Americans won’t feel like they can’t identify with the film just because it’s set in a futuristic Japan. 2) Everything about the film should stay the same, including having actual Asian actors and actresses play Asian characters! But anyway…
CinemaBlend is reporting that “Akira” has been greenlit again, even after all of the toil the film has undergone (Albert Hughes leaving his directing post and being replaced by Jaume Collet-Serra, Keanu Reeves leaving the lead actor spot, losing the entire pre-visualization team during the film’s restructuring process/dormant phase, etc.) According to the site, Variety has stated that Warner Bros. has given the go-ahead for the film, which will have a $90 million budget. It will also begin production early next year.
Here’s what’s the same about the “new” greenlit version: we’re still in Neo Manhattan and that Kaneda is still not going to be played by an Asian actor. Instead Garrett Hedlund is expected to take over Reeves’ spot in the lead role.
Now, I don’t have anything against Garrett Hedlund, but come on, WB! There’s been a brick wall against Asian actors and actresses in Hollywood for years, and once again, another project that could see the star power of the talented Asian actresses and actors–both from the U.S. and Japan–is being given to people that Hollywood feels are bankable without giving other, equally bankable stars a chance. Sure, money is an important part of filmmaking, but can someone be accurate with this film? Why does Hollywood think people got so angry with “The Last Airbender”?!
Sigh. What do you think about this news? Give your opinions in the comments section below.