Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, The Day the Earth Stood Still), has officially turned down an acting role within the film, despite him being a popular choice. There have been numerous other casting rumours since the film was confirmed to be in production by Warner Brothers, with high profile names including Leonardo DiCaprio, Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson and James McAvoy. None of these names have been confirmed except that Pattinson has reported to have received the script of the film, which was written by Steve Knowles, famous for his work on the Harry Potter movies. It seems Warner Brother’s may have to think again about this big-budget adaptation.
The re-make of the famous Japanese anime has been branded ‘whitewashed’ by Star Trek’s George Tekai, with all of the supposed actors being American and with the hint that the film will take place in set in New Manhattan rather than Neo Tokyo. When the film production was announced, it was rumoured to have a huge budget of around $140 million: the same amount of any Hollywood blockbusters.
Needless to say, Warner Brother’s have released a small statement after most of the staff in the FX department was let go a few weeks ago:
“Production on Akira has not halted or been shut down,” they explained in an official statement, “as the film has not yet been green-lit and is still very much at the development stage. The exploratory process is crucial to a project of this magnitude, and we continue to sculpt our approach to making the best possible film.”
In the mean time, Manga Entertainment UK are relasing a special edition Blu-Ray of the original film as well as special cinema screenings.