The studio has essentially locked down Garrett Hedlund for one of the lead roles, continues to actively pursue Gary Oldman for an important supporting part, recently offered the female lead role to Kristen Stewart, and is now testing multiple up-and-coming actors for the other male lead role of Tetsuo (though previously-rumored candidate Ezra Miller is not among them).
Heat Vision says that "key screentests" were held over the past weekend and will continue on today, in order to find a suitable thespian to portray Tetsuo. In Akira, the character is a motorcycle gang punk who is captured by a futuristic U.S. government and subjected to experiments that transforms him into (essentially) a biological weapon - one who quickly turns on his "creators" when he realizes his newfound psychokinetic abilities grant him god-like powers of destruction.
Here is the shortlist of actors currently vying for the part of Tetsuo:
- D.J. Cotrona, star of Detroit 1-8-7 who recently wrapped a potential breakout role as young soldier Flint in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
- Paul Dano, who's best known for his lead roles in indie titles like Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood. He recently played a bit part as Harrison Ford's (onscreen) son in Cowboys & Aliens.
- Alden Ehrenreich, a little-known actor who appeared in Francis Ford Coppola's last two directorial efforts, Tetro and Twixt.
- Logan Marshall-Green, a veteran of shows like 24 and Dark Blue, who was most recently onscreen playing "The Mechanic" in Devil. He also has a part in Ridley Scott's upcoming Prometheus.
- Toby Kebbell, a supporting player in films like RocknRolla, Prince of Persia, and The Conspirator, who aims to leave an impression with his side roles in this winter's War Horse and next year's Wrath of the Titans.
- Richard Madden, best known for playing Robb Stark on Game of Thrones.
- Rami Malek, star of The Pacific and a supporting player in next year's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2.
- Michael Pitt, the Boardwalk Empire lead who was previously better known for his work on artsy fare like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Dreamers, and Funny Games.
Stars like Pitt and Marshall-Green seem a bit too mature-looking to really suffice in the role of the young (and inexperienced) Tetsuo; likewise, Cotrona, Madden, and Kebbell are arguably a bit too physically-robust in stature to fit the character, who has a much more sinewy and non-intimidating build. Whoever is brought on to handle the role should also be quite capable when it comes to subtly communicating a darker side to the character - one which is fully realized when Tetuso is transformed into the uncontrollable and powerful being he (in some ways) has long yearned to become. Given the choices, then, Dano and Malek both (arguably) seem like the best candidates, in terms of both acting prowess and physical appearance.
It's important for Warner Bros. to get the casting of Tetsuo "right," since the Akira remake needs all the positive buzz it can get, given the controversy and anger this project has attracted from fans of (pretty much) all shades. That said: expect to hear an official announcement on the matter in the near future.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of Akira as more information is released.