Akira should be a big movie for 2013. With a rumoured budget of $250 million, Akira would be the first in a two-part live action depiction of the 1988 anime film of the same name, an epic story of biker gangs, kidnapped friends and powerful supernatural experiments.
Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli, From Hell) is set to direct and Leonardo DiCaprio is among the producers. So far so good.* Clearly, for a movie of this size to succeed it requires a name and therein lies the problem. Akira loses stars faster than it can gather them.
JoBlo reported today that the latest victim of the Akira curse is Keanu Reeves. It was hoped that Reeves' attachment would attract other stars to the project. The fact that he's now detached himself doesn't bode well. But Reeves was not the first and, unfortunately, he may not be the last.
Previously, we reported that Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy had been up for the role of Tetsuo at one time or another, while Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix (and now we can add Keanu Reeves) had been possibilities for Kaneda. Other actors who've passed include Brad Pitt, James Franco and Ryan Gosling. One wonders who is left.
The withdrawal of Keanu Reeves, if that's what it is, was marked, JoBlo reported, by Warner Bros. shutting down the pre-viz department and letting most of the staff go. However, Warner Bros. stated:
Production on 'Akira' has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been greenlit and is still very much in the development stage. The exploratory process is crucial to a project of this magnitude, and we will continue to sculpt our approach to making the best possible film.
As long as there are still stars out there to be attached to this film, further details will follow.
*Brendon notes: I wouldn't be so sure about that.