After some minor drama, which saw long-attached helmer Albert Hughes bail on the gestating “Akira” remake this spring, the project came back to the life in the middle of the summer when “Unknown” and “Orphan” director Jaume Collet-Serra came aboard. Things then went quiet on the project, but once again, it has come roaring back to life as Variety reports that a late February/early March 2012 production start is being eyed, and moreover, the leading man may have been found.
While Keanu Reeves was approached for (and turned down) the starring role, fans of the manga and beloved anime film may be upset to know that yes, one of those guys shortlisted back in March for the role of Kaneda — Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix — is now the frontrunner for the part. While no offer has yet been made, “Tron: Legacy” lead Garrett Hedlund should apparently be expecting a phone call.
To refresh your memory, the filmmakers are using Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga as the basis for the adaptation that has a script by Steve Kloves — who has penned almost every “Harry Potter” film as well as the forthcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man” — that relocates the action to New Manhattan in a PG-13 film. At one time there was talk of two films, with the first installment adapting books 1-3 with the sequel bringing 4-6 in the series to life. No word yet if that’s still the plan (we assume it is), but the budget on this one will be about $90 million, and we’d guess Warner Bros. will see what the reception to the film is like first before starting in on a sequel.
No word yet on who will take the role of Tetsuo — Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy were all sent the screenplay earlier in the year — but we presume those actors are still the studio’s top choices. With the project now moving fast to start lensing in early 2012, we’re sure there will be more to come on the remake of “Akira,” whether you like it or not.