UPDATE: THR reports Keira Knightley has been approached to take a role in the film as well, but like Bonham Carter and Oldman, has not entered any formal negotiations yet.
It’s really happening. Warner Bros is moving full speed ahead on a project that many people have hoped would just go away. Last we heard, “Akira” had been officially greenlit and filmmakers were looking at Garrett Hedlund for the lead role. Well, now it’s official. Twitch reported earlier this morning that the offer had been made to Hedlund to take on the role of Kaneda, and Variety updated a few hours later that negotiations are now formally underway.
In Japan, “Akira” was set in a post-apocalypric Neo-Toyko, but this new Americanized adaptation will take place in New-Manhattan, “where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.” There is no word on who might play that friend, Tetsuo. Hedlund’s name endured from a much earlier shortlist of young actors, so could Tetsuo be Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield or James McAvoy, who were all being looked into for the role back in March? Time will tell but two acting veterans, Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter, do have formal offers for unspecified roles as well. Jaume Collet-Serra will direct.
Hedlund has a bit of a streak going with controversial big screen adaptations lately. “Tron: Legacy” was the sequel to the iconic 1982 nerd classic “Tron”, which a lot of people didn’t want. Water Salles’ long-gestating, upcoming “On the Road” is an adaptation of the Kerouac classic that even more people didn’t want. So really, Hedlund of all people taking “Akira” should come as no surprise.