Has Zac Efron Been Offered the Lead Role in AKIRA?

by     Posted 3 years, 268 days ago

Before jumping into this, let’s make it clear this is just a rumor.  But according to /Film, Zac Efron (Hairspray) is apparently being offered the lead role in the Hughes Brothers (Book of Eli) upcoming live-action adaptation of the much beloved anime and manga, Akira.  For more on Akira, you can hit the jump to find out what we know about the project so far – which includes what Akira producer Andrew Lazar told us when we interviewed him earlier this year:

I’m going to assume that, if these rumors are true, Efron is being offered the role of Tetsuo (aka TETSUUUOOOOOO!!) in the film.  I’m not an Efron hater, but this bit of casting news just confuses me since I can’t envision him in the role at all.  I also wonder if casting a big name star like Efron is something that the producers and the Hughes Brothers have to do in order to secure an audience given the films sure to be high budget.  Plus, Akira is one extremely weird film and it will definitely be a risky project for the studio.

When Steve spoke with Andrew Lazar, the Akira producer said that they had just hired a new writer and that they were currently conceptualizing the film.  Lazar also confirmed that the plan is to make two films. with the first film being an adaptation of the first 3 volumes of the manga, and the second film tackling volumes 4-6.  He also let it be known that WB loved the project and was very enthusiastic about it.

In case if you’ve never read or watched Akira, here is the plot synopsis for the first manga volume. (via Amazon)

Welcome to Neo-Tokyo, built on the ashes of a Tokyo annihilated by a blast of unknown origin that triggered World War III. The lives of two streetwise teenage friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, change forever when paranormal abilities begin to waken in Tetsuo, making him a target for a shadowy agency that will stop at nothing to prevent another catastrophe like the one that leveled Tokyo. At the core of the agency’s motivation is a raw, all-consuming fear of an unthinkable, monstrous power known only as Akira.

So what are your thoughts on Efron possibly playing Tetsuo?




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  • !_!

    now this should be pretty interesting. i dont mind adapting AKIRA into a live action film. i think zac can be a good KANEDA and maybe ANTON YELCHIN can play tetsuo

  • !_!

    now this should be pretty interesting. i dont mind adapting AKIRA into a live action film. i think zac can be a good KANEDA and maybe ANTON YELCHIN can play tetsuo

  • Romsy

    oh my, please no. this is supposed to take place in neo-TOKYO, as in JAPAN. Please go find young, talented, unknowns of Asian decent please and do this right.

    On a side note, wasn’t he already cast in the Full Metal Panic adaptation? What is Hollywood’s obsession with him in Anime movies? you would think they would cast him in high school drama slice of life type Anime adaptations, not 2 action themed, and rather violent Anime movies(AKIRA being the waaaaaayyyyyy more violent).

    Look, i hope the best for Efron, i just don’t see him in this movie. Take a look at the Timberlake playbook for shedding the teenie-bop idol image and being taken seriously in the entertainment world, start making fun of yourself before you try to take yourself too seriously bro.

  • Liam

    Ok so color blind casting aside (and seriously can we NOT freak out over the fact that he’s not Asian?), I just have a hard time seeing him have the edge needed for the part. Riding fast motorcycles, being a badass… Kinda hard to see him doing it. I would LOVE to be proven wrong and a live action Akira is not out of the realm of doable… I’m just not seeing him in the role.

    • jerry

      I liked him in 17 Again which had him still charming but with a dose of sarcastic. I thought that was Kaneda like. The badass part I don’t think anyone can judge him on yet so we’ll see.

  • p86

    the script is not in japan but manhattan neo manhattan to be specefic

  • p86

    the script is not in japan but manhattan neo manhattan to be specefic

  • Drmidnite08

    Oh GOD no!

  • Pgitt

    At least this settles it: I will NOT like the live-action “Akira.” Better it be all out bad than tease me with the possibility of goodness.
    http://www.youscreeniscreen.com

  • DEREX

    SO S!CK

  • Alex

    The Hughes Brothers kind of disappointed me with ‘Eli’, I say don’t do it Efron.

    Also he should be playing the Kaneda role if anything, how can he be ‘given’ the role if he’s never played this type of role before?, I smell bullshit, the Hughes Brothers would at least make him audition.

  • Anonymous

    I like this a lot.
    It’s exactly what Efron needs. He needs to start working with talented directors.

    Just like he did in ME AND ORSON WELLES, directed by Richard Linklater.
    Check that movie out. Efron is awesome and that entire movie is underrated and needs to be seen by more people.

  • Anonymous

    I like this a lot.
    It’s exactly what Efron needs. He needs to start working with talented directors.

    Just like he did in ME AND ORSON WELLES, directed by Richard Linklater.
    Check that movie out. Efron is awesome and that entire movie is underrated and needs to be seen by more people.

  • ah@b

    no.

  • Mars Attacks

    if the Hughes Bros can learn from any talented director, they should learn from Danny Boyle who took a bunch of no name actors from another country and made a very culturally specific movie in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and made a massive hit. People want to see movies about other cultures, AKIRA can only happen in Tokyo with Asian actors, it’s style and story are so specific to the place. Placing this in a liberal North American society, especially Manhattan will lose the totalitarian overtones that make AKIRA so amazing. Middle finger to the Hughes Bros if this happens.

  • Aromcath

    To be fair to Efron, whom I don’t hate as he’s really only working the cards he’s been dealt with the aftermath of those musical numbers, so I won’t loath him for this little bit of information. But on the other hand a live action Akira shouldn’t exist in the first place, you’d essentially be ripping out he soul and passion that went into the original piece from its creators. It be blasphemes under any and all circumstances no matter wh was attached to make the thing.

    • Aromcath

      Here’s quickly why Katsuhiro Ôtomo passion for the story and spirit of the 1988 animated film, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBAJdtPVnZc

      Let’s face it, the Hughes brothers aren’t approaching this thing with the same level of dedication to craft. Not because they don’t care but because it’s not their magnum opus so to speak. Akira was ans is Otomo’s, anything less would simply be a faint insult.

  • bk42

    please no find someone else to play the lead role. I can already see this classic anime/manga turned live action movie flopping hard.

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  • lac000

    Akira? I’m pretty sure that comic was called CHAD.

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