Could Keanu Reeves Wind Up Playing Kaneda In Akira?

By Katey Rich 2011-05-06 14:45:22discussion comments
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Could Keanu Reeves Wind Up Playing Kaneda In Akira? image
It's really unclear to me who wants the Akira remake that Warner Bros. is planning. The classic anime is beloved by a small but loyal band of fans, but rather than try and build a big-budget remake that would bring in those fans and attract others, the studio is continually alienating everyone by insisting on looking at white actors for Japanese characters. It's gotten to the point that even Star Trek's George Takei has started speaking out against it, logically asking the studio to stop trying to cast white actors as characters named Kaneda and Tetsuo. Color-blind casting has its place, but this really doesn't seem like the place for it.

And yet, the latest rumor at THR is that Keanu Reeves is now in talks to play Kaneda, the leader of the motorcycle gang at the center of the story. Last we heard Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix had all been looked at for the role, but Warner Bros. already had Reeves starring in their Matrix trilogy, so why not go with what worked 10 years ago? There's no deal in place, but THR hears the talks with Reeves's people have been "going well."

Reeves isn't quite as white as much of his competition-- his father is of both Hawaiian and Chinese descent. And yet, he definitely doesn't fit what are some pretty vocal fan requests to cast an Asian actor in the role. Plus, he's Keanu Reeves-- perfect as the out-of-his-league Neo, but maybe not the motorcycle gang leader you've been imagining. Akira fans, are you guys going to continue to be up in arms about this film if Reeves does wind up getting the part?
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