Toby Kebbell Criticizes Script for Live-Action AKIRA; Says Tetsuo and Kaneda Would’ve Been Brothers

by     Posted 2 years, 18 days ago

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The live-action adaptation of the manga/anime Akira has apparently sunk back into development hell.  The movie was beginning to move into pre-production after having cast Garrett Hedlund as Kaneda, and Warner Bros. was in various stages of negotiations with Kristen Stewart, Gary Oldman, and Helena Bonham Carter.  The studio was also trying to find the film’s other male lead to play Tetsuo.  Wrath of the Titans actor Toby Kebbell was one of the actors being considered, and he was excited for the chance to play the part until he read the script.

Hit the jump for what Kebbell, a fan of the original manga and anime, had to say about Warners’ take on the story.

akira_movie_posterSpeaking to IFC [via The Playlist], Kebbell said he was confused about why Warners wouldn’t want to use the manga as a launching point if they were planning to turn Akira into a franchise:

“They were like, ‘This is going to be a big franchise!’” he explained. “So I said, ‘Then in that case, understand that I’ve read the comics, and I’ve read the comics that got turned into the annuals, and then the annuals that got turned into the one-off anime. So if you really want to do it, then why don’t you look at the six comics and just put two into each film?’”

But the studio wanted to use the anime (which was based on the manga) as the basis for the live-action adaptation:

“They were like, ‘Welllll…’” he shrugged. “So I told them, ‘Then this is a remake [of the animated movie], and I don’t want to do a live-action remake of the cartoon, because [the cartoon] is perfect and you’re not going to do it dark enough — so therefore, I don’t want to do it.”

It’s clear that Kebbell is a true fan, especially when he points out the short comings of the anime, and how the studio’s plan to make Tetsuo and Kaneda brothers was a terrible idea:

“I was desperate to play Tetsuo, but Tetsuo in the comic and annual form,” he explained. “He’s brilliant in the anime, but if you know anything about the comics, they cut so much of the story out. You care about him, because it’s brilliantly done, but you don’t really care about Kaneda, who isn’t.”

“The other thing they wanted to do was make [Tetsuo and Kaneda] brothers,” he continued. “I was like, ‘The point is that Tetsuo can’t comprehend how someone who isn’t his brother could love him so much — and that’s where his wrath and his rage come from. Do you not see that? Why have you made them brothers? What the fuck are you doing?’”

Kebbell doesn’t expect to get the part since he’s made the unforgivable error of giving his honest and well-informed opinion.  He’s still eager to see a live-action Akira movie, but he’s disappointed at the studio’s approach.  My respect for Kebbell has now increased exponentially.  He was willing to torpedo any chance he had at starring in a blockbuster adaptation of one of his favorite stories because he didn’t feel the adaptation would be true to the story he loved.

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  • Tayto

    “…Daddy was a bankrobber

    But he never hurt nobody

    He just loved to live that way

    And he loved to steal your money…”

    • Vickthur

      I would like to see Wild Bunch back together. Love that cast. Idris Elba, Gerard Butler, and Tom Hardy. With some Mark Strong and Toby Kebbell on the side.

  • zseop

    I know a lot of people hate the idea of an Akira movie, but if they did a good job it could add some fans to anime.

    Doesn’t look like the studio is going to let that happen, but at least people are fighting for it.

  • Joseph

    Every delay I hear about this movie is like Christmas, with any luck the studio will abandon their attempt to destroy/Northamericanize this story.

    • JZ

      Are you seriously going to call out “North America” as a sh*tty producer of anime films?

      We’re the source of mofoing Marvel, you stereotyping racist ass. I’m sure you’re looking forward to the Avengers, right? And maybe you loved Iron Man…perhaps you paid to see Thor and Captain America. All of those were home effing grown, dipsh*t.

      I agree, every time they try to convert an anime to live action, they screw it up. But DON’T pin it on America.

      Eff off, you cultural discriminator.

      • jay v

        Marvel is not anime you dunce. And we can pin it on American production companies because it is those companies that are helping make these terrible decisions. They do great taking COMIC BOOKS and making money off of the live action films, but Anime is way different and its something these companies don’t comprehend, they just see dollar signs. Hell they don’t even keep comic book movies true to the original, ever think about that before you play devils advocate?

      • Jack

        @Jay V, Don’t you mean manga? The anime was based of the manga, which is similar to a comic book. I know they were looking at remaking the anime, thus making this a remake of an adaption and twice removed from the original. Which, I think was the whole point that Kebbel was making. That to do it, it would/should be done right. Which America could do and has done, thus showing that the quality doesn’t depend on whether it is America that makes it. That is like saying everything that comes from China is junk, or all Italian suits are the best – gross generalizations and stereotyping made through blanket statements like this are just extreme and untrue.

  • MOK

    Right on Matt. He’s one of us…Don’t **** it up.

  • B

    If i were at Warner Bros and i read this article and found out that a guy that auditioned for us, read our script to a MASSIVE franchise, didn’t get the part and then went out and gave an interview telling the biggest secret of the film, i would flip a (you-know-what). I would be LIVID. LIIIII – VID. And i would almost guarantee he won’t be auditioning for WB any time soon. Whoa.

    I don’t know why it wasn’t reported this way.

  • B

    If i were at the studio of Warner Bros and i read this article and found out that a guy that auditioned for us, read our script to a MASSIVE franchise, didn’t get the part and then went out and gave an interview telling the biggest secret of the film, i would flip a bitch. I would be LIVID. LIIIII – VID. And i would almost guarantee he won’t be auditioning for WB any time soon. Whoa.

    I don’t know why it wasn’t reported this way, either.

  • Crimson

    It looks like they would have gone down the route of the 1st GI Joe film where they changed the Baroness from a European with noble blood into the older sister of Cobra commander.

  • Anna

    They are re writing the script majorley like from scratch and they are looking for great people to be in the movie, so what he’s saying is BS, he’s just mad because they turned him down, and then he talked shytt about the film, make up your mind!

  • Paulo

    In order for this AKIRA movie to be anything close to good it’ll need to be filmed in Tokyo with at least asian actors.

    People forget that the japanese culture interprets feelings a LOT different from what we do. And Akira is a very japanese film in terms of psyche. Their emotions don’t always resemble western emotions given certain situations.

    Akira isn’t one of those broad all around the world stories. It’s japanese to it’s core. And MANY won’t get it as they won’t be able to relate to what the characters feel.

    To put western people feeling japanese emotions will feel ridiculous in the least.

    Not to mention this movie shouldn’t exist. The animated movie itself is perfect. Don’t touch it.

  • broski

    there’s already a live action Akira movie, it’s called Chronicle

    • John

      Broski, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Chronicle is as close to an American adaptation of Akira as we could ever ask for. And it was good too. So, why can’t the studio just stop there and call an end to this whole remake of a classic manga/anime that no American studio could possible get right anyway?

    • Spider-Fan

      agreed

      • Strong Enough

        I don’t agree. Akira is more than teen angst with psychic powers you dumbass

  • rxn

    I’ve got a lot of respect for this guy after reading that. It takes some stones to pass up something like that. Good to see some people still respect the original product.

    • pooper

      ditto.
      This guy rules, Ill be keeping a closer eye on him

      • Steve

        Toby Kebbel – Like a Boss.

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  • Strong Enough

    For people to say Chronicle was Akira is BS.

    Akira is more than teen with psychic powers goes emo.

  • Jeff Bonivert

    Just read the comic book , then watch the animated feature film. Nothing new needs to be made.

  • jarvis3205

    “Don’t urt me Arch…I’m only lit-ul!”

  • fran

    respect for Kebbel

  • lee

    another white-washing of a beloved comic series i greatly admired. hopefully it won’t be as bad as the last airbender.

  • jay v

    When it comes to making live action anime films north American production companies do need to back off because they come out crappy. Need examples? Dragonball and Avatar the last airbender. Two great animes that had potential and were just screwed up. And as far as JZ said about comics? How in the help do you compare comics to Anime? Anyone can take a comic book character and make a decent movie from it, but it takes great care and a genius to transfer the emotions and visuals that anime brings and make it live action. Kudos to this man for giving a piece of his mind and not taking part in what seems to be a ridiculous endeavour.

  • Jack

    @Jay V, Don\’t you mean manga? The anime was based of the manga, which is similar to a comic book. I know they were looking at remaking the anime, thus making this a remake of an adaption and twice removed from the original. Which, I think was the whole point that Kebbel was making. That to do it, it would/should be done right. Which America could do and has done, thus showing that the quality doesn\’t depend on whether it is America that makes it. That is like saying everything that comes from China is junk, or all Italian suits are the best – gross generalizations and stereotyping made through blanket statements like this are just extreme and untrue.

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