by Chris MaGee
It was just a couple weeks back when word finally came down from the folks at Warner Borothers that their long percolating Hollywood live-action remake of Katsuhiro Otomo's anime classic "Akira" was going forward. Many of us were hoping that the previous departures of directors Ruairi Robinson and Albert Hughes from the project were signals that it would be shelved, but now with director Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan, Unknown) on board it looks like "Akira" will be moving forward.
Japanese film and anime fans have dreaded this remake for years now. This incarnation of "Akira" will transplant the story of teen bikers Tetsuo and Takeda from the post-apocalyptic metropolis of New Tokyo to that of New Manhattan. There have been numerous actors attached to the roles of Tetsuo and Takeda, but all of them have seemed utterly inappropriate -- James Franco, Keanu Reeves, Andrew Garfield, etc. Now word has leaked over at Anime News Network and the Hollywood Reporter that two new names are now being seriously considered to play Tetsuo and Takeda.
18-year-old Ezra Miller (above left), who has been gaining critical acclaim for his role in Lynne Ramsay's psychological thriller "We Need To Talk About Kevin" is now attached to the role of Tetsuo, a young biker who develops catastrophic psychic powers. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alden Ehrenreich (above right), star of Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro", is in talks to play Takeda, who must save New Tokyo... or I guess we mean New Manhattan... from his friend's new found powers.
I guess the best thing that can be said about these two potential leads is that they're a little bit more age appropriate than previous stars who have been attached to "Akira". We're still not holding out a lot of hope for Warner Brothers' remake, but at least now we don;t have to worry that we'll see James Franco trying to act like a teenager.