I've been a big fan of the Akira anime since I was a kid. It was one of the first anime I ever watched and It has been a film that I have constantly revisited over the last decade. I own some of the 6 Volume Manga for which the series was based (in Japanese) and I have been looking forward to Warner Brothers and their film adaptation of the anime for quite a while now. But, where are they going with this?
On the blog, Racebending, I saw today that they had announced a "short list of actors for the film and well, they are all white...
From his blog -
For the role of Tetsuo: Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy.
For the role of Kaneda: Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix.
GOOD GOD!!! NOOO!!! I'm not so firmly entrenched in my Akira ways to say that only Asian actors should be playing these roles, but honestly, if they are going to keep the names the same, for GOD'S SAKE PLEASE CAST SOME JAPANESE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!! If they want to change the names, just like they are going to change the setting (from neo-Tokyo to neo-Manhattan) then fine. I'll live with white actors being cast in the lead roles under that set of circumstances. But, the above is just wrong on so many levels.
The Characters in Akira are high school age. Akira is a coming of age film in many respects and having a bunch of middle-aged actors vying for these lead roles seems ridiculous to me. As much as I AM NOT a fan of all the Justin Bieber types, he would be a waaaayyyyy better choice than freaking Justin Timberlake for the movie. Of all the people above, I could really only see James McAvoy and Chris Pine as suited for the roles; they are the closet to the right age, and James McAvoy can do pretty good dramatic stuff, especially in war stories (which Akira pretty much is). I could also see Chris Pine sporting the Red Leather Jacket, jumping on his Red Superbike and then fighting Tetsuo in the climax with a massive laser cannon.