'Akira' Remake Going Ahead, Probably with Garrett Hedlund

October 20, 2011

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Well, you're getting an Akira remake, and TRON: Legacy's Garrett Hedlund is probably going to star in it, at last putting all his light-trail-leaving futuristic motorcycle training to use outside a computer program.

Last we heard about Warner Bros.' plans to adapt the breakthrough anime Akira into a live-action American film with old white guys was back in July. Director Albert Hughes had left the project two months prior and the studio was searching for a replacement known for "delivering pictures on time and on budget." Sears Portrait Studio was deemed an unacceptable answer to this criteria, and Warner hired unremarkable Orphan director Jaume Collet-Serra to bring the budget down to an acceptable eight digits. Over the last three months, the director apparently cut enough to bring the cost down to $90 million, and Warner Bros. has given film the green light, as to which the only positive comment I can muster is that at least Collet-Serra hopefully won't have time for that remake of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Cercle rouge.

The cynic may worry that Collet-Serra's cuts may have come from Akira's all-important grotesque, tumorous, human growth scenes, which would clearly use up much of Warner's yearly allotment of precious CGI resources, but in all likelihood, a good portion of the budget reduction is probably due to changing the casting direction. Early in the film's misguided development process, big names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Keanu Reeves were being bandied about as possibilities to play way-too-old versions of the film's teenage lead. With Garrett Hedlund now the reported frontrunner, it could bring the budget down considerably--though, thanks to the IMDb's unforgiving policy of posting birth dates, you can see that he too is pretty old to be playing any high schooler outside the classrooms of Glee. He's also pretty white to play a "Kaneda." But hey, Hedlund isn't getting any younger nor any less caucasian, so if that's direction we're headed toward Neo Manhattan, let's just get on with it then.

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