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The 1988 feature Akira helped anime cross over into the United States. A live-action remake of the Japanese film, which will bear the same name, has been talked about for some time, but the stars had yet to align until now.
Variety relays that Warner Bros. has given Akira the go-ahead for production, which will begin either in late February or early
March. Katsuhiro Otomo, director and writer of the original feature, has signed on as an executive producer. Jaume Collet-Serra, director of Unknown, has since taken the helm.
The production experienced several complications, including director Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) leaving the project. The initially proposed budget also far exceeded the $100 million Warner Bros. planned to spend. The budget was recently agreed up at $90 million.
Akira will boast two male leads, and the big frontrunner to play one of them is Garrett Hedlund, who has experience in both genre features (TRON: Legacy) and dramatic acting (Country Strong). Last time we heard anything about casting for Akira, Hedlund was one of the contenders for the role of Kaneda, so it’s safe to assume that he’s a frontrunner for that same role.
Other possibilities previously listed for that role include Michael Fassbender, Joaquin Phoenix, Chris Pine and Justin Timberlake. Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy and Robert Pattinson were being considered for Tetsuo, the other male lead role. Keep in mind, though, that such lists were revealed several months ago, and things may have changed since then.