James Franco to Star in AKIRA?

     February 11, 2011


It looks like the big screen adaptation of the manga Akira may have found its star. A live-action version of Akira has been in the works for a while now, and most recently the Hughes brothers (The Book of Eli) were tapped to helm the project. Now, they may have found their lead. James Franco is apparently in talks to star in the film. Fair warning: there’s been no official confirmation that Franco is circling the project, so this could turn out to just be a rumor, but Just Jared is saying he’s very much involved.

Akira tells the story of a biker living in New Manhattan who saves his friend from a medical experiment. Zac Efron was the last actor rumored to be taking on the role. Franco’s name most recently came up regarding Sam Raimi’s Oz, the Great and Powerful. He’s apparently in talks to star in that film, and has also been rumored to be looking at the Linda Lovelace biopic Lovelace. The actor/director/writer/student will next be seen hosting the Academy Awards with Anne Hathaway on February 27th. I think we can all agree that Franco really likes doing things.

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  • excpired

    I really hope this is true and happens! Franco would be just great, I’m glad Keanu Reeves isn’t in consideration anymore.

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  • Eli B

    Really like Franco as an actor, but this still should not be done. Akira exists as a great piece of animation, its artistic value is built on a foundation of the care of every hand drawn line; doing a live action adaptation robs the movie of that foundation. I don’t argue that it can’t be done, because you never really know what can be made into a good movie, but it still rests that it shouldn’t be done.

    • Lame Duck

      I love Franco but I agree with ya Eli why remake a classic. The reason why Akira was so renowned in the first place is its animation. A live action adaptation is always doomed from the get go-don’t believe me, go look at rottentomatoes.com and observe remake’s ratings. Why not just make another movie that pay homage or has similar themes as Akira. Hollywood can’t tell us they have run out of ideas, there is always a way to create something original.

      • !_!

        johnny yong bosh will always be kaneda

  • aaronsullivan

    Live action Akira has potential as it winds into the second half of the story and it would be cool to take some elements of the larger manga story that were condensed into oblivion in the animated version. maybe.

    However, I just can’t stomach New Manhattan. All the sudden it feels run-of-the-mill. :(

    Now Robotech could be AMAZING as a live action film, and wouldn’t suffer so much moving the nationalities around as it’s not as steeped in Japanese (neo) culture. Plus, you’ve got the obvious draw of pulling off a plausible Veritech fighter in action. I guess the same could be said about pulling off the Tetsuo transformation, though.

    • Dave

      I agree with you in principal: i.e., developing some of the story elements that were excised in the anime would be cool. The problem with that is: when has Hollywood EVER not chopped the shit out of a good story as to be almost unrecognizable from the source material.

      Yeah, as an old school anime fan (who owned Akira when it came out on LD) I have no desire to see this. It just doesn’t need to be made.

  • MC ATTAck

    i like james but i dont see him as Kaneda or the american version anyway, its gonna be hard if they mess this one up, AKIRA its one of the most definitive animes because represent a big deal of the modern japanese culture (post-nuclear, technology driven, etc.) and adapt it to america doesn’t seem right, but i’m good with a japanese version with the hughes brothers, they did a good job with the Book of Eli and From Hell, but there is a lot of material in the manga that can be use too, i’m with lame duck o this one why not make a movie that pays homage or has similar themes instead.

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