Although Gary Oldman recently confirmed that he had been approached to play The Colonel in Jaume Collet-Serra’s Akira, we’re now hearing from Twitch that the role has been offered to Ken Watanabe (Inception). While this move should silence some of the critics who claimed the production was “white-washing” the cast, the deal is still in the offer stage and nothing has been confirmed. However, since the studio was testing actors for the role of Tetsuo earlier this week, we may have some confirmed casting news for you soon.
Akira, the adaptation of the 1980s manga by Katsuhiro Otomo and the 1988 classic anime film by the same name, has Garret Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) and Kristen Stewart in talks to play Kaneda and Kei respectively. Hit the jump for more on the project.
There is no word, as of yet, on the offer that had been extended to Helena Bonham Carter to play Lady Miyako. With filming set to begin in the spring, we should expect Collet-Serra to be shoring up the cast fairly soon. Akira will follow Kaneda, the leader of a motorcycle gang, and Tetsuo, a young man with telekinetic abilities, through the streets of Neo-Manhattan. In the original movie, an accident triggers the latent abilities in Tetsuo, who becomes overwhelmed by his new God-like powers. His actions also unlock the super-powerful force known as Akira.
Watanabe’s character would presumably be the man in charge of the government run experiments and ultimately tasked with securing Tetsuo once his powers reach dangerous levels. I’m personally in favor of Watanabe in that role, but what do you guys think of the casting?