Keanu Reeves In Talks For ‘Akira’ [Updated]

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 9:20 pm,

[Update: Keanu Reeves has officially passed on the role of Kaneda in Akira. Read the updated report - HERE.]

The Hollywood Reporter is dropping the exclusive that Keanu Reeves is in early talks to join the cast of the Hughes Brothers’ (The Book of Eli) live-action adaptation of the classic manga-turned-anime film, Akira.

Word is that Reeves is being eyed for the headlining role of Kaneda, the leader of a futuristic biker gang who finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy involving his kidnapped best friend, government experiments, and dangerous psychic abilities.

Aside from some amusing name jokes (Keanu, Kaneda, Keanu, Kaneda) this news is likely to be as welcome amongst Akira fans as the news that Warner Bros. was making this movie in the first place. The project has had several positive upticks recently (relatively speaking), specifically when a shortlist of actors to play Kaneda – including names like Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class), Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) – hit the Web. At the very least, fans were able to say “Glad they’re not still considering Zac Effron,” which admittedly is a small grace, but an important one, nonetheless.

With Keanu, I’m sure the reaction won’t be positive. THR reports that WB wants Reeves attached to Akira in order to lure another big name actor to the pivotal role of Kaneda’s best friend / psychic powerhouse, Tetsuo. Previously rumored candidates to play Tetsuo include Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man), James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) and Twilight’s Robert Pattinson. I’m not sure any of those names would be a proper fit against Reeves, though.

AKIRA movie by Hideyoshi Keanu Reeves In Talks For Akira [Updated]

Let me be clear: I’m not a Keanu Reeves hater. I like most everything in the action/sci-fi genres the guy has done, and I’m even looking forward to his starring turn in the samurai epic, 47 Ronin. That said: I do believe you have to be VERY careful how you use your Keanu. In the right role (characters who are stoic, robotic, detached, or zen-like), the guy is solid; but a role like Kaneda (as any fan of the anime film can tell you) requires someone who can emote, to say the least. I’m not sure that Keanu Reeves and emoting are two things that can even co-exist in the same time or place.

Right now, it’s being said that talks with Reeves’ reps are going well, so the guy may end up landing the gig. If he indeed does end up playing Kaneda, I can only guess at this point who the studio will select as Tetsuo – though I wouldn’t be mad if they went with James Franco for the role.

All I do know is: I’m still not happy that this movie is even being made.

We’ll keep you updated on the status of Akira and its cast.

Source: THR

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  1. I’m not quite sure what his name is but the Asian kid in Glee could physically pull off an awesome Kaneda! They need to have Kaneda, Tetsuo, and Akira all Asian-American. The other characters can be a mixed bag of races. As for Keannu, I could see him playing the doctor who is formulating the Akira virus and just have that part extended for the movie. The Hughes Bros. as directors is a pretty cool choice, book of Eli was visually stunning and had a great ambience about it. Although I could see this film having a more polished look to it. My dream director for this would be Nolan but that is not happening. I’ll see this movie out of pure curiosity.

  2. This crap is too damn comical to even take seriously…just leave it alone Hollywood!

  3. This post is mainly on Joaquin Phoenix not being chosen for the role of Kaneda. I did think Keanu Reeves did a a serviceable job in “Speed” Plus he was pretty convincing I thought in “My Own Private Idaho”
    My thoughts on Joaquin not getting the part of Kaneda in the Hughes bros movie Akira.For one thing there were several actors up for the part. One of the things I learned here in imdb just how competitive the movie business is. There was of course no guarantee any of them would be picked. I am not that upset JP not getting the role. There are quite a few Asian Americans and Asians in general who are up in arms only white actors were being considered. Since Akira was a Japanese film to me they are right. Plus many Akira fans of whatever ethnic background considered the film should only be of young 20 something actors. Most of the ones considered were at least in their 30s. Keanu Reeves is 47.
    I think Phoenix is a much better actor than Reeves. OTOH that’s not saying much. Most are much better. The one thing Keanu has going for him imho is he looks somewhat Oriental with his Polynesian background. JP is a significantly better actor. Heck he’s one of the best actors in film.

  4. I am not too excited that this movie will be made, as I love the original anime. However, I think good choices for the characters would be Leo DiCaprio for Kaneda and Giovanni Ribissi for Tetsuo. James Defranco would play a decent Yamagata. Just sayin…

  5. Too old, but better than the other previously rumored candidates. At least Keanu is half Asian. That’s half right imho. The film is freaking called Akira. All I ask for this doomed project is that they deliver kick ass effects. Not using Imageworks is a good starting point. Green Lantern looks like crap thanks to them.

  6. Better choice I guess even though he is too old. Just make it visually interesting. WB can start by not using Imageworks for the CGI. Green Lantern looks terrible thanks to them.

    • co-sign. Imageworks is the WORST. I really fear Green Lantern is going to flop because their work looks so cartoonish in the trailers.s

  7. Way to old, what are they thinking?!

    How about Anton Yelchin, he’s a fantastic actor, and is very good at emotions, he’d be good for a role like this.

  8. I agree Zach if this thing is to have half a chance they need to be thinking along those lines.

    The thing is “Akira” has a bigger problem than the agedness or ethnic background of the cast. “Akira” exploits its audience in certain ways that are inappropriate to a young teen American audience! It’s themes of body transgression, transmogrification, putting the audience in a state of helplessness so that they can experience the horrifying loss of control that approximates adolescent experience over the course of seven or eight years of real life. I would liken that to witnessing a catastrophic auto crash with blood and limbs everywhere, it feeds a base instinct, that desires to keep looking on and is a little much for teens, Even more so in a live setting. Without that material though the work loses a lot of its message and power. A direct adaptation that’s faithful equals an ‘R’ rated movie. That’s not a tent pole movie in todays cinema. An Akira based movie that cuts those things out though is an empty copy banking on the name. It’s all part of an eternal problem working to be creative in a straight jacket…

  9. How about Jay Chow from Green Hornet? He has a huge following in Japan the women love him and he’s moderately well known in the U.S. now from Green Hornet.

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