by Chris MaGee
We've been bashing the proposed Leonardo DiCaprio/ Warer Brothers produced and Albert Hughes directed live-action remake of Katsuhiro Otomo's seminal anime film "Akira" for a long, long while now. As much as we wish it would just go away reports of screenplays and potential casting keep popping up on film industry websites. Most recently came the report that a number of high profile actors are in the running to star in "Akira". The big problem now is that the setting of New Tokyo has been shifted to New Manhattan, and the original Japanese characters are being transformed into Caucasians and (possibly) set to be played by talent such as Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Fassbender.
With this in mind I was very, very happy to see an interview with Japanese-American actor George Takei posted at the Advocate in which he doesn't mask his displeasure at this transmutation from Asian to Caucasian for this remake. 74-year-old Takei, best known for his role as Lt. Sulu on "Star Trek". says that this kind of white-washing of Asian characters is "an old Hollywood tradition that we’ve always been battling." He goes on to express his dismay that Warner Brothers would be taking this route when the original manga and anime have such a devoted following, "It originated in Japan, and, of course, it has a huge Asian fan following. But it’s the multi-ethnic Americans who are fans of Akira and manga. The idea of buying the rights to do that and in fact change it seems rather pointless. If they’re going to do that, why don’t they do something original, because what they do is offend Asians, number 1; number 2, they offend the fans."
Can we get an "amen"?! How about a "hallelujah"?! To read all of what George Takei has to say about this remake of "Akira" head to The Advocate here.