Casting continues to come together for Jaume Collet-Serra’s live-action adaptation of the dystopian anime Akira. Or, at least, casting rumors continue to come together. I’m not certain that any of this has been officially announced by the production. For a while now it’s been thought that Tron: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund is signed to play the character Shotaro Kaneda, the motorcycle gang-leading protagonist of the story. That one seems to be a pretty sure lock. Recently, word came out that roles had been offered to veteran actors Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter as well. That announcement seems a little less certain than Hedlund’s involvement, but it hasn’t been refuted by any official sources.
And now Twitch is adding to the casting rumor pile by saying that Kaneda’s sometime adversary, sometime love interest Kei has been cast as well. Apparently, an offer is on the table for Kristen Stewart to play the psychic medium with terrorist ties.
If this is the case, then it would put Stewart in yet another high profile role in yet another high profile genre picture. Factor in that next year she is starring in Snow White and the Huntsman, and that’s a lot of mystical lasses for one young actress to take on. When you’re cast in something that’s as big of a phenomenon as Twilight, the threat of being typecast is always there. Is Stewart having trouble finding non-genre roles after being ingrained in most of the world’s head as Bella Swan, or are these just the sort of projects that she likes to work on? Could it be possible that Stewart is actually a nerd who has a copy of the “Akira” manga sitting up on a bookshelf somewhere? Somehow I doubt it. I’m willing to bet we’re looking at a little bit of typecasting with this choice. Hopefully there’s somebody working somewhere on this project that has legitimate affection for the source material, because the casting of pretty but blank-faced young white kids hasn’t been too encouraging.
And that’s another question I have about this adaptation. Apparently it’s being set in future New York instead of future Tokyo, right? I mean, they’re casting white actors, so that certainly seems to be the case. Are the characters still really going to be called Kaneda and Kei? How about like, Brad and Suzy? Wouldn’t that be much more appropriate to the white-washed approach this film seems to be taking?