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Geek Discussion: Do YOU Want To See Keanu Reeves Play Kaneda In An ‘Akira’ Movie?
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A live-action American adaptation of the popular Japanese manga and animated feature film, Akira, has been on the way for a while now with Albert Hughes (of the Hughes Brothers) attached to direct.

Many rumors have swirled around the proposed film, but nothing quite solid has ever manifested yet. And that seems to be just fine with Akira fans everywhere, who have made it pretty clear that they don’t think a live-action adaptation would work and they don’t want to see it happen. Of course that’s just what they say now, and if a really well-done movie is made with the proper cast and an intriguing trailer is released, those very same fans would likely be singing a different tune.

Which brings us to today. Heath Vision is reporting that Warner Brothers has had some discussions with Keanu Reeves, star of the very successful Matrix franchise, about playing one of the lead roles in Akira, Kaneda. Keep in mind that Reeves isn’t even officially “in talks” for the role yet, but all signs point to he and Warner Bros. being very interested.

At the moment, it’s said that these basic discussions are going “well,” and that if Reeves were cast in the role, it would be a huge step in finding another huge star to come on board for the other lead character, Tetsuo.

Many names have been rumored for the movie over the past months, including names like James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Robert Pattinson, and Michael Fassbender, but nothing has come of them. Leonardo DiCaprio, who will be a producer on the movie through his Appian Way banner, was also expected to star one upon a time.

Since the Keanu Reeves chats are not yet officially, all we really have here is a discussion. So, knowing how passionate you Akira fans are, what do you think of all of this? Would you be okay with Reeves playing Kaneda? If not, who would you NEED to play the lead roles in order for you to get excited about this movie?

Scream your thoughts.


  1. Scream my thoughts?

    “NNNNNOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!” That’s it..

    Comment by JeanMalkav — May 6, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  2. i’m not a religious person by any means, but, oh please God no!!!!

    Comment by Dax — May 6, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

  3. Hasn’t Japan suffered enough??? Now we’re remaking the Citizen Kane of manga/anime into what is sure to be a terrible live-action Americanized, whitewashed crapfest. Also, casting Keanu Reeves is an even worse idea because Kaneda and Tetsuo are Japanese teenagers, Keanu is 46 and not Japanese. Hasn’t Hollywood learned from the mistakes of The Last Airbender???

    Comment by MadMike — May 7, 2011 @ 6:40 am

  4. I don’t dislike Keanu Reeves, I don’t dislike the idea of an american-made Akira movie, and I don’t even dislike the idea of americanizing some of its details. I actually really liked the origins of “Neo Manhattan” from the early unused script that’s been floating around on the web – it gave the setting a nice Blade Runner vibe that manages to keep the cultural aesthetic while allowing for a more culturally mixed (ie: primarily American) cast. Thought was actually put into it.

    I can’t imagine what thought goes into casting Reeves in this role, though. Or rather, I can’t imagine what legitimate, satisfying thought goes into it. This is really starting to fall into the category of “If you don’t like what makes the story good, why bother adapting it at all?”

    At this point, my greatest hope is that Japan will do like they did with Godzilla and make their own Akira movie to wash the taste of the American one out of the minds of the public consciousness.

    (And I’m usually never this haterific.)

    Comment by NeverWanderer — May 7, 2011 @ 2:17 am

  5. My views on this subject:1: Do not make a live action Akira. 2: If it must happen then it should be an all Japanese production , with Japanese actors. …Starting with a new and original prequel about the little boy Akira starting WW3, written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. This would ‘test the waters’ for the two part film based in the manga. (again -JAPANESE productions!)if it doesn’t do well financially and the manga adaption is cancelled at least we have a decent and brand new live action prequel to accompany the anime. There is the issue of funding, as I cant see American studios putting money behind this idea at all. 3: Or be faithfull to the manga and film it with Japanese actors speaking English on location in Tokyo and ‘Neo-Tokyo’. This will please us fans and not alienate Americans who refuse to read subtitles. (but I’m sure no American faces will put them off too). This is probably the best solution to appeal to fans, the new audience , Otomo and the American studios. 4:There should NEVER be an American ‘Akira’.BUT if they must base it in Manhatten to appeal to an American audience then it should be called ‘Adam’ with an all American cast. It should have absolutely no ties with Japan at all. This way you can have recognisable middle aged actors like Keanu Reeves playing a teenage role like ‘Kaneda’. (Kenny?)I was first blown away by Akira 20 years ago (thank you BBC 2 network premiere) and it is still my favourite film (or at least animation) and I am still extremely passionate about it! Chris Harrison Jersey Channel Islands

    Comment by Chrisharrisonjersey — May 7, 2011 @ 3:02 am

  6. Well… The last airbender ain’t japanese.

    Comment by Fbuh — May 7, 2011 @ 3:04 am

  7. Can’t agree more. Kaneda and testsuo are teenagers (and japanese), not espressionless guys on their fourthies

    Comment by Akira28 — May 7, 2011 @ 3:07 am

  8. As MadMike said- I think it would be disastrous to have Keanu Reeves cast in the film! He has ruined just about every film he has been in with the exception of the first 2 Matrix films and the first Bill and Ted film. Remember The Day The Earth Stood Still? What a way to absolutely destroy a beloved classic! He is an awful actor and of course WAY TOO OLD!!! If they go ahead with their plans I predict that this film will look excellent but the story/plot/dialogue will be terrible. To tell you the truth, even the original anime version was weak compared to the manga. The real story is way too long for one 2 hour film and will leave so much out. If anything they should cast it with all young japanese actors and make it a trilogy ala Lord Of The Rings. I might get behind something like that.

    Comment by TheAlexRude — May 7, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  9. I’m not entirely sure I want to see Keanu Reeves in anything.

    Comment by Jen D — May 7, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  10. I think a live action version of this film would be a mistake. Akira, though a wonderful story, opened the world’s eyes to the capabilities of what animation could be. To many, it was a “jumping in” point to Anime. Any attempt to recreate this in “live-action” film would always be looked at as a lesser product. Most of Hollywood’s attempts on recreations is to reduce storyline, character development, and vision, then substitute it with CGI for the masses. Sometimes it works, most times, not.

    That aside, I’ve always felt the youth of Akira to be in their late teens to early twenties. Keanu would not fit very well in that particular group. Making the characters older would definitely detract from the Akira storyline. The only character I can think of who might be about the same age might be the Colonel but Keanu seems rather misfit for that part as well.

    Comment by Dr. Tony Drake — May 7, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  11. Definitely. I think he should have been cast as superman personally

    Comment by Lusky — May 8, 2011 @ 8:03 am




    get your hands on the ORIGINAL comic book AKIRA and enjoy.


    Comment by DEVON GREY — May 8, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  13. Must Hollywood continue to destroy good things? I swear to God I am sick of it already. On one side you have Warner Bros, who totally raped The Lost Boys 2 (which could have been a hell of a lot better). On the other you have ScyFy channel mouth kicking “Being Human”. When, lord, when are you gonna send us a decent production staff, from writers, directors, and actors who aren’t going to destroy good stories?

    I am really starting to hate Hollywood. (Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor). It’s like they don’t even do their homework. Emperor Chin’s Tomb wasn’t discovered until the 70’s and no Racheal Wies as Evy?
    <– Nothing to do with current discussion just bitching and moaning.

    To much crap flowing from Hollywood. I can't bear the thought of Reaves and his trademark "Whoa" in Akria.

    I have an idea, if you want Reaves in a live action Anime remake, make that stupid bitch play Ranma! Change him into a girl every time he gets wet!

    Next thing you know us true geeks will have to suffer through Will Farrel as Drizzt.

    Screw it. End Rant, Jay out!

    Comment by Joe Fowler III — May 11, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

  14. Definately not wanting to see Keanu Reeves in this movie (or any other for that sake). But Robert Pattinson would be a lot worse. All in all they shouldn’t make this movie if they can’t be completely true to the original animation.

    Comment by Claus Gori — May 14, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  15.  I think would be ok having Neo there, but for all that is sacred dont let Robbert Pattinson anywhere near this project ><

    Which means i would like to see that liva-action. By live-action we mean tons of cg and a few actors on green right ?

    Comment by Jack — May 15, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  16. I can’t imagine anyone casting Keanu as Kaneda because of the age issue. If you take away the rebelious YOUTH aspect of the story, it would become something entirely different. Maybe he would make a good Ryu?

    Comment by Gordon Emanuel — May 17, 2011 @ 5:00 am

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