Zac Efron ~ Another Project? ~ Akira
Zac’s name has been mentioned to star in the live-action version of Akira.
Zac Efron to star in live-action Akira?
Star in talks with director Albert Hughes
By Dan Goodswen | Nov 5th 2010
The rumour mill has coughed up an interesting tidbit this afternoon – High School Musical actor, and purported Manga fanboy Zac Efron is in talks to appear in the live-action version of Akira.
The film is being developed by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way company, and early rumours had DiCaprio himself attached to the lead role of Kaneda – but now it seems that Efron is being lined up to star.
Set in futuristic Neo Tokyo, the events of Akira take place after World War III has destroyed much of the old world. Kaneda is the leader of Neo-Tokyo motorcycle gang The Capsules, and the main character in both the comic and animated version of Akira.
When his best friend Tetsuo discovers he has immense psychic powers and threatens to destroy the city, Kaneda is the only one who can stop his former ally.
Slash Film are insisting that this is very much a rumour at this point, and can’t confirm whether and actual offer has been made, but it is certainly enough of a development to attract interest.
A live-action Akira film has been touted since the 1988 anime popularised Japanese cyberpunk and Manga to US audiences, but has found itself stuck firmly in development hell.
Albert Hughes, one half of directing duo the Hughes Brothers (From Hell, The Book Of Eli), came on board back in February after Appian Way had secured the rights, and has been busy ‘conceptualising’ what will eventually be two movies.
That casting rumours are starting to surface means Akira could finally be emerging from hell and into the green light of day.
Efron has been keen to rebrand himself as a credible actor, something DiCaprio will no doubt sympathise with, and his career will certainly be given a major boost if he manges to secure the lead in Akira.
Rumor: Zac Efron in Albert Hughes’ ‘Akira’?
Posted on Friday, November 5th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
Another rumor which is making the tracking board rounds today is that Zac Efron has apparently been offered the lead role in Albert Hughes’ upcoming live-action adaptation of the popular anime/Katsuhiro Otomo‘s six-volume manga Akira. I’m not able to confirm the offer, but one source tells me Efron is in talks, while another says that it is “far from a done deal.”
Set-up at Warner Bros through Leonardo DiCaprio‘s production company Appian Way, the project has been in development for some time with screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (wrote earlier drafts of Children of Men and are credited with Iron Man). Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) had previously worked on the project.
Last we heard, producer Andrew Lazar said that Hughes is was busy “conceptualizing the movie with a bunch of visual artists” and working with a new screenwriter, Albert Torres (Henry Poole Is Here), to put his stamp on Akira. That draft was due in September. Hughes has also talked about the film being PG-13 and the idea that he might only direct the first of two planned films. (One adapting the first three manga volumes, and the second volumes four through six.)
The previous screenplay was set in a post-apocalyptic “New Manhattan” and will feature Akira’s famous red motorcycle. The original Katsuhiro Otomo anime was set in a futuristic and post-war city, Neo-Tokyo, in 2019. As for the casting, here is an excerpt from a previous posting by Russ Fischer:
No cast has ever publicly revealed to be attached. The involvement of Appian Way led many to suspect that DiCaprio would star as the teen biker Kaneda, despite being demonstrably too old for the part, but the actor publicly denied any involvement beyond producing duties. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was rumored to be in mind for Tetsuo, the friend of Kaneda whose psychic powers are awakened, setting of a cataclysmic chain of destructive events in Neo-Tokyo. He also denied any attachment.