Keanu Reeves in Talks for AKIRA? [UPDATED]

     May 6, 2011

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The live-action version of Akira may actually be happening. After Warner Bros. secured a co-financer for the $230 million pricetag (Legendary Pictures, who just recently backed out of the deal), and Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves turned in a rewrite of the script that had everyone eager to get going, producers began searching for their cast. Directors the Hughes brothers have been searching for an A-lister with global appeal to star in the flick (you don’t gamble that amount of money without ensuring that you’re gonna rake in serious international revenue), but for a while it seemed like they were searching in vain.

Now, Vulture reports that Keanu Reeves is in very early talks to take on the starring role in the film. Based upon the manga and the 1988 anime adaptation, Akira centers on teenager Shōtarō Kaneda and his quest to stop his friend Tetsuo from destroying Neo-Tokyo. Hit the jump for more on the project.

[Update: Heat Vision reports that Reeves is in talks for the role of Kaneda, the gang leader.]

Apparently both Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling passed on the film, opening it up to Reeves. However, nothing’s official yet and these talks are very early, so this isn’t necessarily confirmation that Reeves is starring in the flick, but it appears he is definitely interested in the role.

With Legendary recently pulling out of their co-financing deal with Warner Bros., don’t expect production to move ahead without a new partner. As we just saw with Universal and their Dark Tower adaptation, studios are very wary about gambling a giant sum of money on a genre flick. If they can secure a star, especially someone like Reeves who does well overseas, they should have an easier time finding another studio to help them shoulder the production cost.

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