Film News

Garrett Hedlund Formally Offered Lead In AKIRA

by Todd Brown, November 3, 2011 11:39 AM


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It seems that virtually from the day that Warner Brothers greenlit the US, live action version of Akira rumors have been circulating that Tron Legacy star Garrett Hedlund was director Jaume Collet-Serra's choice to take the lead role of Kaneda. It seems that the powers that be at WB now agree, as Twitch has learned that Hedlund has just received a formal offer to take the part.

Though best known for his part in Tron Hedlund's past roles are actually quite diverse, including stints in genre fare (Death Sentence), romcoms (Georgia Rule), kid friendly fantasy (Eragon), and straight up drama both mainstream (Friday Night Lights) and indie, with Hedlund headlining Walter Salles' upcoming Jack Kerouac adaptation On The Road.

Put Hedlund next to Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter - who have both been offered key support parts - and it's clear that the producers are looking to fill the cast with recognizable names who are also actors with solid dramatic abilities, which is certainly preferable to many approaches. The curious part, however, is retaining the Japanese names despite shifting the setting to New York and the so-far all Caucasian cast.

12 Comments

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Kudos to Twitch and Todd for objective coverage of this developing story. You have Although I understand fans hoping for Asian actors, the studio clearly supports Collet-Serra's vision of shifting/adapting the film to New York. I also think this is the way to go with this project.

I've been following closely this Akira story and it has been annoying how many fans and media outlets have jumped into a bandwagon of just being hateful about the project without having any real information about it or the potential lead. Hedlund particularly has been consistently criticized for ONE movie in spite of his many other great roles. As Sam Flynn in Tron Legacy, he had to deliver insufferable lines at times and his character had such limited development **Consider how Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges also clearly struggled with the same, it's telling of how little the actors had to work with.**

That kind of posturing shows lack of journalistic integrity by all of those writers (mostly from online media) because an actor's ability should be judge by their entire BODY of work but I guess they are too lazy to look into it being the copy-n-paste experts that they are. Once again, you show yourself to break out from the 'band wagoners.' I'm glad to see that Todd has actually taking the time - unlike others to - look into Hedlund's other performances. Personally, I really think he was great a ganglord in Death Sentence.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about this story and I hope the other media outlets gives you guys the credit for breaking the story. Great job!

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Pardon my errors in my comment, English is not my first language.

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"the studio clearly supports Collet-Serra's vision of shifting/adapting the film to New York"

Well, Elle, setting it in New York is the best way in which to utilize a white lead, thereby increasing mid-western US ticket sales tenfold.

Also, it's okay that you're crushin' on Garrett Hedlund - get it all out, gurl!

All preceding errors in spelling were intentional on my part.

To be less facetious for a moment, regarding green screen acting.
I'm struggling to think of a film that has 'great' acting in front of a green screen. I've seen synergy (Sin City), but never anything that rises above that. More often than not the actors look and sound lost. Maybe the actor of tomorrow - one that has had to work in this environment every so often since they started in the craft - will be able to do it. I think it may be just too alien a concept for our current body of talent.

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Again, I'd say the best course of action for the film is to forgo the name AKIRA and instead say that it's based on AKIRA. Say it and say it often during the promotional stages - use the anime during interviews, put the name on the poster hype, have it featured prominently in the opening credits, release some deluxe Blu-Ray version of the original that has the new American version (with it's own, Americanized, title) promoted on the box and with a trailer inside, etc.


This way they get the best of both worlds: You get all of the fans on your side because you're not 'pissing' all over the original, your film has the guts to only 'kind of' use the integrity of the original (LOL), but mostly rise or fall on it's own merit.


A lot of the heat is due to the question "How are you going to do this when so much of it is inherently steeped in Japanese culture?". This has been done successfully in the past - The Magnificent Seven / Seven Samurai - they use the basic plot and call it something else and then use the original during the hype stage. It's the smartest course of action - I can't imagine the hoops a screenwriter would have to jump through to somehow smash AKIRA into an American setting while retaining the names while using non-Japanese actors.

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Well Mars, we'll just have to disagree. Unlike you, I don't feel the need to take cheap and semi-intellectual jabs at people - I have enough things to occupy my day. Ultimately, coming across as an obnoxious know-it-all doesn't generate productive discussion.

I'm not sorry for my fangirling on Hedlund, I'm not down on this project and it's my preference to give credit to people I think deserve it.

You all have a good day.

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Oh, Elle, I was just teasing! Thanks for calling my jab 'semi-intellectual', when it was, in fact, full blown goofy - you're too kind! The green screen comment was actually me agreeing with you, though I can understand my jabbery may have clouded that! Sorry!

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Careful what you say... Todd doesn't want anyone crying about this news. Just embrace this mediocre actor at best, and relish at how amazing this film is going to be. After all, it's the same visionary Director that brought us Paris Hilton's, House Of Wax!

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Stop the drama mah bois, just do what i usually do in cases like this: don't watch the movie. I haven't given a single penny for any of these remakes, prequels and other assorted awful adaptations of comic books, mangas, animes and video games. There is just so many truly good movies out there waiting to be discovered, why waste time with movies like this one?

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MarsHottentot got me thinking though... if you are going to create a new American film, with American names and an American title, what would make the best title? It must have just a few letters, look great in a big font and you must be able to shout it out REALLY loud!

"JOHN!!!"
"HENRY!!!"
"SILVESTER!!!"

Hm. I obviously need to think some more...

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Though not very sexy, it could work. Following in the same vain as Akira, which means "intelligent", the Anglo/German equivalent is Albert, which means "intellligent", or "noble". Eh.

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Looks like "The Last Airbender" all over again. Good enough to copy from, but not star in. I'll pass...

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hedlund is fine, but this project is bananas. how can you call a film akira and not have it set in neo-tokyo? that was such an important part of the story.


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