Based on the collective online response to Warner Bros.' recent decision to greenlight a live-action reworking of Akira, you'd be forgiven for believing that literally no one on the planet (other than a few studio heads) actually thinks this project is a good idea.
TRON: Legacy's leading man Garret Hedlund is - for better or for worse - said to be the top contender to headline the new Akira movie, which will be an Americanized take on the acclaimed Japanese comic book/animated movie created by Katsuhiro Otomo. However, he could potentially be surrounded by some well-respected acting talent.
Twitch has it on good authority that Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter have been offered roles in director Jaume Collet-Serra's Akira remake. Oldman is reportedly being eyed for the role of "The Colonel" - a part previously rumored to have been offered to another beloved actor, Morgan Freeman - and Carter is apparently wanted to play a character known as Lady Miyako (in Otomo's original comic/movie, at least).
Oldman - who's garnering early Oscar buzz for his role in this winter's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - has never been adverse to appearing in big-budget blockbuster fare. However, while he has starred in good tentpole productions (see: Christopher Nolan's Batman movies), Oldman has previously admitted he sometimes takes on parts in otherwise lackluster mainstream titles, simply because... well, the pay is good (see: Lost in Space, The Unborn, Red Riding Hood). So even if Oldman does sign on for Akira, it might not be because he thinks the film's script has potential.
Carter is somewhat similar to Oldman: her filmography as a whole is very strong, save for a handful of big-budget missteps here and there (ex: Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes). However, she has somewhat of a busy schedule right now, seeing how she's currently appearing in Burton's Dark Shadows, Mike Newell's Great Expectations - and is rumored to costar in Tom Hooper's Les Misérables adaptation next spring - around the same time that Akira is expected to begin production.
With all that said: bringing Oldman and Carter onboard for your film is rarely (if ever) a bad move; it could also be a turn for the Akira remake which won't simply infuriate fans.
Here is an official logline for the new Akira:
Set in New Manhattan, the cyberpunk sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his friend, discovered with potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities, from government medical experiments.
There's already been much discussions amongst fans of all shades about how Akira's storyline is too deeply rooted in Japanese history for an Americanized retooling to work - not to mention, Hedlund's being rumored to play Kaneda didn't exactly blow people away... although, his possible involvement went over much better than when Zac Efron was rumored for the part. As mentioned before, this latest casting rumor isn't likely to turn the tide of anger towards this project, but at least it seems like a step in the right direction.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of Akira as more information is released.