Warner Bros.' Americanized live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s acclaimed Japanese comic book/animated movie, Akira, has evolved significantly over the past twelve months. Case in point: around this time in 2010, the Hughes Brothers (The Book of Eli) were onboard to helm the project, which was then budgeted at around $140 million and rumored to feature the likes of Zac Efron and Morgan Freeman in pivotal roles.
Jump to the present and Akira's budget has reportedly been reduced to (at least) $90 million; Jaume Collet-Serra is signed on as director; Steve Kloves has rewritten the script; and actors such as Garrett Hedlund and Gary Oldman are being actively pursued to handle the lead parts in the film.
Keira Knightley has been touted as a possibility to play one of the important supporting (female) roles in Akira for the last couple of weeks. However, according to a new report from Twitch, that part has now been offered to none other than Twilight leading lady Kristen Stewart.
Collet-Serra's Akira takes place in "New Manhattan", a futuristic dystopian city where government forces clash with the anarchistic general population, which includes that of a local biker gang leader (Hedlund) and his closest friend. When the latter is captured and subjected to secret government medical experiments that unleash his "potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities," his comrade must join forces with a hard-edged colonel (Oldman) in order to prevent the newly-powered young man from potentially killing thousands (if not millions) of people.
Stewart is wanted to play the love interest to Hedlund in Akira. Additionally, a handful of up-and-coming actors are being considered to portray the (angry) young man - a character named Tetsuo, in Otomo's original comic/film - who discovers he possesses unfathomable mental powers.
There's no polite way to put it: hating on Stewart has become almost a pastime for the anti-Twilight crowd. It does not matter that she has actually delivered decent performances in films like Panic Room, Into the Wild, The Yellow Handkerchief, Welcome to the Rileys, Adventureland, and The Runaways - or that Stewart is next trying her hand at portraying a more engaging female character in the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman - a lot of moviegoers seem incapable of separating the actress from her polarizing Bella Swan screen persona.
That's all to say: bringing Stewart onboard for Akira is bound to incite angry responses and do little to nothing to win over this project's detractors. All the same, she does possesses some quality acting chops and could easily suffice in a supporting part like the one she's up for here. Besides, the possibility of Stewart playing "the girlfriend" is the least of this film's concerns...
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of Akira as more information is released.
Source: Twitch Film