With the live-action adaptation of Akira finally moving ahead after years of development hell, here are some actors who would be perfect for main character Kaneda. The Akira anime was written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, which was based on his sprawling manga of the same name. Akira is set in Neo-Tokyo and follows Kaneda, the leader of a teenage biker gang who tries to rescue his friend from the military when he exhibits powerful psychic abilities. While that may sound like a relatively straightforward plot for a cyberpunk anime, the story also features plenty of social commentary, political satire, and body horror.
A live-action Akira movie has been trapped in development for well over a decade, with names like George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Jaume Collet-Serra, and Jordan Peele being attached at various points. Actors such as Gary Oldman, Chris Evans, Kristen Stewart, and Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four) have been linked to the movie too, which has ranged in scale from a mega-budget, two-movie adaptation to a modestly budgeted action flick. The project was also accused of whitewashing in 2014 when it was revealed actors like Robert Pattinson and Justin Timberlake were being lined up to play Kaneda.
The live-action Akira is finally happening with Thor: Ragnarok's Taika Waititi directing and Leonardo DiCaprio producing. Given Waititi's stated preference to cast Asian actors who aren't big names in the main roles, here are some talented young performers who play Kaneda.
Ryan Potter is best known as the voice of main character Hiro in Big Hero 6 and is currently playing Beast Boy on Titans. Potter is the right age to play Kaneda and he certainly has the charisma and action chops to pull off the role, like this Tim Drake audition tape shows.
Booboo Stewart has a wide range of credits, including roles in the Twilight franchise, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and HBO's Westworld. He's played everything from comedy to drama, and that range would make him a strong candidate for Waititi's Kaneda, especially with the director's famed use of improv.
Mackenyu has had major roles in both Japanese and American projects, including Pacific Rim: Uprising. His father is also legendary actor Sonny Chiba, who played Hattori Hanzō in Kill Bill: Volume 1. Mackenyu has a nice variety of parts under his belt and a lead role in a movie like Akira could be his big breakthrough.
Win Morisaki is probably best known to his fanbase as the lead singer of J-Pop band PrizmaX, but he's has a lot of acting credits to his name too, including a supporting role as Daito in Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One. He's already used to working on a Hollywood blockbuster with lots of CGI, so he'd at home on the set of Akira if he landed the part of Kaneda.