Fans were more than willing to express their displeasure when the news broke last week that Zac Efron may play the lead in the Hughes Brothers' live-action, U.S. set adaptation of Akira.
The new casting rumor for Akira should sit better with fans, as it seems that Oscar-winner and all around sophisticated gentleman Morgan Freeman may star in the film as "The Colonel."
The Colonel (a.k.a Colonel Shikishima in the original Akira) is a hard-edged man whose bulky physical build and military hairdo resembles that of Colonel Quaritch from Avatar - the former is also very much a pragmatic fellow and eschews the corruption of the "New Tokyo" government. He was in charge of the experimental project that inadvertently unleashed the psychic powers of Akira, which led to the outbreak of World War III and a nuclear holocaust, some thirty years before the events of the original film.
While Freeman is not exactly a physically intimidating figure, his involvement in the Hughes Brothers' Akira would lend the film an air of gravitas it might not otherwise have - especially if Efron signs on to play the lead. Freeman seemed to enjoy himself as an ex-black ops agent in Red and has played active military types onscreen before. Plus, well, it's Morgan Freeman - do we need to say any more?
Warner Bros. wants the Hughes Brothers to deliver a PG-13 Akira, which seems virtually impossible, given the highly graphic content of the story and its bizarre, often grotesque visuals. The location will shift from "New Tokyo" to a futuristic version of New York in the live-action Akira adaptation, which also seems like a bad idea, given the strong connection between the subject matter (especially the nuclear/cold war subtext) and the original Japanese setting.
Development on the new Akira is still ongoing and we're not sure when the project will actually reach theaters, but the early signs seem to point less to a sophisticated adaptation of a much-beloved anime and more a bland Hollywood "interpretation" that lacks the power and depth of the original work.
What do you think? Does the live-action Akira adaptation have potential?
Source: BD Horror News
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