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?