D.J. Cotrona, Logan Marshall-Green, Toby Kebbell and Others Test for AKIRA’s Tetsuo Role

     November 19, 2011

With two of the three major roles cast for Jaume Collet-Serra’s adaptation of Akira, Warner Bros. is set to shore up the role of Tetsuo before Thanksgiving. The Unknown director already has Garret Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) and Kristen Stewart playing Kaneda and Kei respectively, but will hold screentests this Sunday and Monday for Tetsuo, the young man who channels the powerful Akira. Set to test are D.J. Cotrona (Detroit 1-8-7), Logan Marshall-Green (Devil), Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), and Rami Malek (Larry Crowne). Retesting for the role will be Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) and Alden Ehrenreich (Twixt). Hit the jump for more on Akira.

Heat Vision reports that Warner Bros. is anxious to wrap up the casting of the lead roles in Akira, having also offered parts to Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter recently. The $90 million project will move from its manga roots in Neo-Tokyo to Neo-Manhattan, but keep the core story of two young men: Kaneda, the head of a motorcycle gang and Tetsuo, a powerful young telekinetic who becomes overwhelmed by his abilities. Kei (Stewart) is a member of a resistance organization who possesses some of her own unique powers.

Right off the bat, I can advance a few of the actors based on looks alone. Granted, I’m comparing their portrayal of Tetsuo to the animated character of the 1988 version, but still. Kebbell, Malek and Dano seem to have the physicality that the animated Tetsuo portrayed. Cotrona and Marshal-Green seem a little too rugged for the part. Although Tetsuo was part of the motorcycle gang, his brawn was definitely not his best attribute. Ehrenreich and Madden look like they could be brothers, but neither of them strikes me as “Tetsuo.”

In the end, I’m pulling for Dano. I think he has a great look for the part and, judging from his performance in Little Miss Sunshine, can definitely act on the mania and torture that Tetsuo goes through. I’m sure some of you will disagree. Let us know what you think about the actors and which one, if any, should get the part. Keep up with all our Akira coverage here.

  • matt

    When did Hedlund and Stewart become official? I thought they were in talks and were offered spots?

  • Mars

    this project just keeps getting worse.

    • Hiro the Eighth Samurai (and 14th Assassin)

      I’d honestly rather watch all of the Twilight movies twice than watch this once.

  • Mars

    I know changing the setting to “New Manhattan” was an excuse to cast white people, but I’m not sure if they realize this, but there are other ethnicities in this country. Maybe screen test some actors who aren’t white.

    • Hiro the Eighth Samurai (and 14th Assassin)

      It just goes to show Hollywood studio executives and other big players as the racists they are.

      Manhattan and New York are some of the most racially and culturally diverse places on the planet. And yet, we’ve heard of about 12 or more names for big roles, and they’re all white actors?

      So, even if they take on this anti-Asian tact, what about other races that aren’t white? They’re going to ignore them all, too? So far, they’ve been doing a great job.

      Is DJ Cotrona’s name being thrown in there as a token “colored” person, just to deflect criticisms? Too little, too late.

      This movie is going to be like “Friends,” multiplied by 10 or more.

      • robotic giant

        Cotrona isn’t “colored”. He’s italian and german.
        He’s definitely not right for this though.

  • justin

    Toby Kebbell would be awesome, hope they choose him.

  • rxn

    What a way to ruin an amazing movie. Won’t be seeing this.

    • Hiro the Eighth Samurai (and 14th Assassin)

      Make sure you spread the word to your friends, family and neighbors.

  • zootcatchy

    oldman\bonham-carter\hedlund looked nice

    but with all these additions.. ooh the cast looks very mismatching!

  • Ben

    Can this project please die? I will never accept Akira as an American movie. Everything about it is Japanese! Can these white people just GTFO? Stop this whitewashing bullshit. I hope Steve Kloves, Collet-Serra, and all involved in this project go to hell.

  • Yellow Peril

    So, not only is the studio pushing ONLY WHITE actors for an ASIAN role, but the writer of this article Dave Trumbore is too?

  • Scotty

    I was really excited for this movie until i found out Kristen Stewart will be in it.

    I really am just disappointed. Actors need to be hired on their talent, not the publicity they will bring to their upcoming projects.

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