It's a good time to be a youthful up-and-coming actor in Hollywood. Readings for several high-profile tentpole projects - in need of young stars - will be held over the upcoming week(s), including ones for: Warner Bros.' (heavily-criticized) Americanized adaptation of the cult anime/manga, Akira, and 20th Century Fox's latest installment in the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard.
Bruce Willis is set to reprise his iconic role as John McClane in the fifth Die Hard, but the search is ongoing for a fitting candidate to portray the maverick cop's biological son. Meanwhile, Garrett Hedlund looks all but set to portray the biker gang leader Kaneda in Akira; the other pivotal male lead role in the film, however, has yet to be filled.
THR says that there are three frontrunners to play John McClane Jr. in A Good Day to Die Hard - namely, Ben Foster (The Mechanic), Emmy-winner Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), and Liam Hemsworth (Knowing). Inside word is that the part is Hemsworth's to lose... which means the fifth Die Hard could mark a Willis/Hemsworth reunion of sorts, seeing how the two are already costarring in next year's The Expendables 2.
Tetsuo - Kaneda's younger brother, who develops uncontrollably destructive telepathic abilities - is the next big bit of Akira casting to be complete. Early contenders for the part include Alden Eherenreich (Tetro) and Ezra Miller; the latter of those two has recently been earning lots of positive buzz for his turn as a troubled teen who goes on a shooting spree in the upcoming indie flick, We Need To Talk About Kevin.
Hemsworth (younger brother of Thor himself, Chris) is definitely a star on the rise, seeing how he's also playing Gale Hawthorne, in the upcoming Hunger Games movie, and could possibly appear in both an impending film adaptation of Arabian Nights and the sci-fi/romance, Timeless. It's partially for that reason that, should Hemsworth sign on to play McClane's son in the fifth Die Hard flick, that will do nothing to quell rumors about the film possibly featuring a "passing the torch" storyline.
As for Akira: Miller seems the obvious (better) choice to play the younger sibling of Hedlund's (potential) character, based on the early reception for his work in We Need To Talk About Kevin. All the same, that would also mean Miller is being typecast as "the troubled teen" right now, seeing how he's also playing a similar youthful (albeit, non-violent) outcast in the upcoming The Perks of Being a Wallflower film adaptation. That's not, per se, a bad thing, though, seeing how Miller has made a good impression so far...
UPDATE: Miller had the following to offer Moviefone, with regards to him starring in Akira:
"It's not true. That, I can assure you, will not be a reality... ['Akira' is] a beautiful Japanese epic and I think [the new version will] be a very entertaining, fun film, but no, it's not my next move."
Look to hear more updates on the casting for both A Good Day to Die Hard and Akira in the near future.