Report: Chris Pine On Short List For Lead In Live Action Akira Film

Another high profile Hollywood project is being reported to have  Chris Pine’s name on the short list of lead actors. This time Star Trek’s new Kirk is being talked about for the long-anticipated live action adaptation of the 1980s Akira manga comic. More details below. 


Pine to live action Akira?

The popular 6 book manga series Akira was adapted into an animated film in 1988. Since then a live-action version has been talked about but things heated up late last year when it was reported Warner Bros. had tapped the Hughes brothers (Book of Eli) to helm the project. The new version of Akira is reportedly set in “a rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment." Today Deadline is reporting scripts have been sent out to a short list of actors for the two main leads:

I’m told that for Tetsuo, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy have been given the new script. For the role of Kaneda, the script has been given to Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix.

According to Deadline the Akira film is scheduled to start shooting in August, which is also around when the Star Trek sequel is reported to be set to start film.

Here is the trailer for 1988 Akira animated film.


…and Daredevil too?

There is also a new reboot of Daredevil in development, and while they have no inside info, Blastr list Chris Pine as one of their choices as 10 actors who could make the new Daredevil swing.

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But they aren’t asian…

Live action akira is like saying i want to redo The Godfather as a cartoon.

That being said, i’d see it.

Is Chris Pine contractually obligated to shoot Star Trek in August? I know he signed for two more movies, but does he have to do it when they’re ready or be in breach of contract?

I wonder, would the next Star Trek move forward if Chris Pine is unavailable? Re-cast Kirk?

To “americanize” the ultimate japanese masterpiece is a heresy of the worst kind.

It´s shouting out loud “Japanese people aren´t real people to the eyes of american movie goers, so in order for them to understand this movie let´s cast it with all white american actors”.

It´s ridiculous, retarded and greedy.

1.& 4.

Who really cares?

RE: contracts
The way an option works, yes if the studio says they need you and you signed an option contract, then you have to do it, or you are in breech. But WB may not know when he is available and put him on the short list anyway, or they may hope that ST shoot date moves, or the august Akira date is not set in stone.

4. Victor

I think the Japanese have more to worry about right now, Victor. And frankly, so should we.

5. You should, if you´re a science fiction fanatic.

Akira film? … I do not think will happen to Chris Pine, my guess! … and there are other rumors, too! … Director D. J. Caruso wants him for the role of Jesse Custer on ” Preacher “… Fans want him in Daredevil… but knowing his aversion to spandex that CP always mentions… hmmm… hard to think that he is interested in Daredevil… my guess, too!

I think he should be interested in the character of Jesse Custer… if anyone doubts that he can make this character… watch Smokin’ Aces… and see Chris Pine playing Darwin Tremor… absolutely WEIRD!

Something interesting… about Daredevil, Chris Pine and fans…. :-) :-)

Whitewashing is nothing new and has been a common practice in Hollywood since the beginning.

For those who would say, “Who cares?” I say far too few and that in and of itself is one of the worst results of “whitewashing”.

You have a large U.S. population that’s been trained to be very ignorant about people who don’t look like themselves, and/or to think of themselves as less, because the media continually perpetuates that.

So, you have many people, even youth (those people who are supposed to take us into a more enlightened future that’s ultimately gets us past this) who don’t know Latinos come in many colors, who make viral videos like the now infamous Asians in library, who don’t know that darker people actually played a major part in civilization and not just white people wearing tanner and braids portraying “exotic” peoples..

…and who are surprised when they meet actually people of other ethnicities, that they aren’t anything like that stereotypical portrayals that they keep seeing on TV and in the movies.

You have people of the “other” ethnicities who buy into the media’s view of who they are. Who embody the stereotypical limits.

So I say, anyone who dismisses this as merely “entertainment” that we shouldn’t care about about, needs to realize that the media has always had a reflective impact on our lives.

With movies like Airbender, Prince of Pesia, the missed opportunity with The Hunger Games, and heck even Avatar is an example of screwed up our world is.

…Because if you ask any Hollywood film executive, those blue CGI aliens were far easier to sell world-wide, –easier to identify with than the black actors who were motion captured for them.

It’s a self-supporting/reinforcing cycle that won’t change unless those with power to do so decide to take short-term losses for the long-term reprogramming.


I don’t think it really matters that “Akira” isn’t (so far) being cast with Japanese actors. Its all about how they stay true to the source in terms of story and character, not race. Plus it’s an adaptation, not a literal word-for-word, picture frame-by-picture frame version.

The producers of the new “Superman” movie could have just as easily have casted a Black or Asian man to play Superman. It’s all about who has the ability to pull it off convincingly, not just about one’s appearance.


It matters because though Asian-Americans exist, very little on TV and the movies supports that beyond the typical stereotypes.

It would be nice to use this rare opportunity to so Asian-American kids can see themselves beyond the submissive asian ingenue/chop suey/side-kick stereotypes…

It would be nice to be able to name some Asian American leads besides Lucy Lui in that Charlie’s Angel’s movie and Harold and Kumar.


I agree with you for the most part, but I have to say that there are large portions of the movie-going audience that complains when a “white” role is given to a black actor. When “Daredevil’ was being made, people were upset that a black actor (Michael Clark Duncan) was cast as a villain, Kingpin, who in the comics, was always drawn as a white man. People have complained about how in “Thor”, there is this black actor playing a Norseman. So it isn’t just the studios that are guilty of “whitewashing”, a term that is bordering on racism itself.

12. Of course it matters, as it was written and illustrated by japanese artists with japanese people in mind. The americans and other foreigners have their role on the story based specifically on their nations.
it´s about “nation building”, its not only about “bikers fighting each other”.

>The producers of the new “Superman” movie could have just as easily >have casted a Black or Asian man to play Superman.

Easily? It´s the same as casting Mel Gibson as Martin Luther King, or a Dolphin to play “Benji”, or having a “Red Dead Redemption” title in a movie about Aquatic Water Polo.


I guess you’ve never heard of Daniel Dae Kim (“Lost”, “Hawaii Five-O”) who also played a MACO on “Enterprise”. He doesn’t play into the so-called “ingenue/chop suey/side-kick stereotypes”. Neither does the Asian-Canadian actress on “Grey’s Anatomy”. John Cho and George Takei have now both played Sulu, a non-stereotypical Japanese helmsan on the Enterprise. Sure, there are the Jackie Chans out there, but there are also the non-stereotypical Asian characters and actors as well. You just need ot open your eyes.

how many persian kids running around l.a.?
and for the Prince of Persia,
we have a guy with a last name that sounds like, to paraphrase bill maher, a gay scandinavian ice cream.

nothing new here.


That’s a symptom of the problem.

White people are so used to roles being white, they throw fits or won’t pay to see a film when a role that could conceivably be played by any race goes to someone who isn’t white…and so whitewashing is supported.

No, it’s a “Asian” movie or a “black” movie, but for the reverse, other races don’t label films with all white people as white films. They are still just movies, that they’ll go see regardless, if they look interesting.

Movies don’t lose money when white actors play roles for people (even when they exist in real life, not fantasy characters like Kingpin in Daredevil) who are actually of color.

For 21, World Trade Center, A Mighty Heart, Wanted, and so on… white fans will still pay to see the movie and don’t care, when this happens.

And that’s why ‘whitewashing” that started with Birth of Nation with white actors wearing tanned make-up and passing as another ethnicity is still going on in 2011.


Really? Open my eyes? These are still supporting roles. I think you need to open yours and see that a few tossed scraps simpy aren’t enough.

…Not in this day in age.


“Easily? It’s the same as casting Mel Gibson as Martin Luthor King, or a dolphin to play “Benji”, or having a “Red Dead Redemption” title in a movie about Aquatic Polo.”

Hate to break it to you, but unlike Martin Luthor King, both Superman and Akira are not real people. Getting Mel Gibson to play Martin Luthor King would be a slap in the face to African Americans, because the late civil rights leader is a real life historical figure, and Mel Gibson is a racist, and beyond that, choosing a a white actor would be tantaount to rewriting history.

Superman is a fictional character. Unfortunately, fans have gotten the notion that Superman must always be portrayed by an actor who looks exactly as he was drawn over seventy years ago. Just like some fans like you seem to have the notion that you have to cast Japanese actors in a HOLLYWOOD version of “Akira”, which as I have said, is merely an adaptation of a comic book, not a frame-by-frame recreation of a holy book.

I would much rather see them do a live version of Our Star Blazers. Love that Animated show.

It happened with Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea and even the author, who is white, was upset by it.

…Neil Gaiman is holding on to the rights for Anansi Boys, because he knows that whitewashing would happen if he didn’t.

It wouldn’t be a problem if Hollywood didn’t make whitewashing such a typical, common, expected thing.

Everyone I know, regardless of race, knew that a blond-haired blue-eyed actress would end up getting the role of olive-skinned- black haired Katniss in the Hunger Games….Would’ve been shocked if it didn’t.

That’s how business-as-usual, this kind of thing is.

And for 2011, that’s sad.


Daniel Dae Kim was a co-star on “Lost”, and is now a co-star on “Hawaii Five-O”. He’s been much more than just a supporting actor. He was part of an ensemble on “Lost”, in which his character was fully fleshed out, and get this, non-stereotypical. And the actress on “Grey’s Anatomy” (sorry I can’t remember her name, I don’t watch the show) plays a doctor. And she has a large role, apparently. Maggie Q is the lead actress of her spy show.


Yes, he’s one.

He’s one Asian-American actor who is getting the opportunity to co-star with a white lead.

…It’s still incredibly rare to see any Asian-American carry a mainstream movie or show by themselves without the stereotypical trappings.

And that’s the point, –the truth, you keep trying avoid.

Pointing to that one guy who gets to co-star only supports my point of how embarrassingly rare it is to see other ethnic groups just plain star, without stereotypes.

…And don’t even get my started on the relatively little promotional support films that do star non-stereotypical ethnic minorities get, right along with blink-and-you-miss-it theatrical runs, –only in NY and LA, of course.

Will Smith is one of the only mainstream non-white actors who has completely managed to transcend his color to sell a film, even internationally as not simply, limitedly, “an ethnic film”.

When it comes to white actors, no matter how new they are to the game, they don’t have that built-in liability. That liability is the reason why Chris Pine is being considered for Akira while Tadanobu Asano won’t even be listed as a slight possibility.

It’s the reason why even the callsheet, I’d bet my right foot, only called for Caucasian actors, not simply male actors.

My point is, someone had to take a chance on Will Smith to get him to this point.

…And you’re not seeing execs do that, to any great degree.

Nope. For all their talk, there are fewer shows on TV with diverse leads today, than there were in the 90’s.

The only good thing, I see nowadays, is that at least the idea of diversity is expanding beyond all white people with one black token.

I’m happy to see Latino, Desi, LGBT and so on (Desperate Housewives, Modern Family, The Office, gLee!,Community, Lost, Hawaii Five-0, Nikkita) get some mainstream shine in recent years…

…But it still would be nice to see these “minorities” carry more shows without the typical straight lead white guy as the “safe” buffer.

What about all the humans in science fiction? They play *all* the other species, and I’m here to say that should stop.

I can get Vulcans and Romulans portraying each other, and even the occasional human like Ol’ Colonel West putting on heavy makeup and pretending to be a Klingon… but enough already. With Orions making themselves up as Andorians to try and screw with a few Babel conferences, where is this going to end?

And dare I even mention how really, every role could be played by shapeshifters? Then it’s really going to get unfair!

The actress who plays the Asian doctor in “Grey’s Anatomy” is Sandra Oh.

Hopefully, they will start filming Star Trek by August so Chris Pine won’t do Akira, unless the Akira producers change its filming schedule to fit in with Pine’s schedule, if he were to get the part. There is also the Jack Ryan movie supposedly being written now as well. I believe he has also signed on to do that. Both Star Trek and Jack Ryan movies are Paramount productions.

If Akira is about Asians, then why not have Asian-Americans play the parts? Just seems to be a no-brainer to me. Anyway…

White people in Japanese roles, where Gerorge Takie to fight this? God I have to say this I hope this film never gets made it’s way to nihilistic, it traumatized me as a kid!

I’m an anime fan. “Akira” is one of the Holy of Holies, like “Wings of Honneamiese”, “Evangelion”, “Escaflowne: Over the Sky” or “Cowboy Bebop”. Or anything by Miyazaki.

You do NOT live action these films. Or “Americanize” them.

Someone over on AICN wrote that “Akira” was, originally a 2000 page manga and you couldn’t make an understandable movie out of it unless you were going to make an HBO series out of it.

The fact that they are thinking of casting Pine in a lead role indicates to me that they are thinking of doing to “Akira” what Spielberg is going to do to “Cowboy Bebop”, try and Americanize it for global distribution. Thus draining it of all its context and what made it very special in the first place.

And by the way, what the above writers wrote: what’s with casting the white actor to play Tetsuo?

With all due respect to the new Captian James T. Kirk. the new producers have no business casting a non-Japanese actor in that role just because they think that Pine will go long globally.

Sorry, this is just b.s..

Sorry, Kaneda. My bad.
Still, the point remains. These are Japanese leads.

Brother took me to see this in the theater, and its one of my favorite Anime films (after Paprika). They will RUIN it if they cast anyone other then an asian actor for this, much like Avatar The Last Airbender was ruined by casting non-asians.

Even if Hollywood cast an all Asian-American cast, they’ll still screw up Akira… it’s just not a story that Hollywood can do justice to. You know they’ll just tone down the weirdness of it.

P.S. – I’m not much of an anime fan, but I do really admire Akira and Ghost in the Shell.


Ever hear of Denzel Washington? How about Zoe Saldana in “Avatar”? Forrest Whittaker with the “Criminal Minds” spinoff? Laurence Fishbourne as the lead actor, replacing William Petersen on “CSI”? There were a couple of Asian actors on “Heroes” who were part of an esemble and played heroes with superpowers.


Maybe these “Americanized” versions, if done respectfully and well, can get people to check out the original source material.


They weren’t going to cast an Asian because the new movie was tied to the original canon. They were obviously going to go with a Caucasian male, even though no one in Hollywood looks remotely close to William Shater from fourty-five years ago. The Caucasian part had to be kept for consistency. However, if one day someone decides to make a TOS character film free from canon, the producers would be free to cast an actor based on talent, whether he’s of Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Native American or African American descent.


“The Last Airbender” was ruined apparently because the film sucks, NOT because not enough Asians were in it.

learn from dragonball-z, starring a caucasian for an asian character.

I would rather they remade Blade Runner. The Japanese manga/anime storytelling style isn’t geared for a mainstream American audience, unless they dumbed it way down, which would probably set back intercultural dialogue to no insignificant degree. So it wouldn’t break my heart to see WB shelf the live action Akira by next week.

remake blade runner? for what purpose, its already perfect. Some films you just *DONT TOUCH*

More racebending shit. Screw the people behind this.

@ 21. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire – March 22, 2011
I would much rather see them do a live version of Our Star Blazers. Love that Animated show.

They are…Google “Space Battleship Yamato”

I bet a lot of the same people going “who cares if the ‘Akira’ lead is white? Race doesn’t matter” would have been the first to throw a hissy fit if an Asian-American had been cast as Captain Kirk in the reboot.

I mean, John Cho had more name recognition than Chris Pine when both were cast in Trek 2009, but I ddn’t hear anyone making the case that Cho deserved the lead role because of that.

Seems like so-called “colorblind casting” only works one way.

I also think this is insulting to white people. Are white people so fragile and delicate that they can’t handle seeing a movie with, gasp, non-white lead actors? It seems like a lot of white people managed to get through Slumdog Millionaire, the Karate Kid remake, Harold & Kumar and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon without spontaneously combusting, so Hollywood should stop insulting us by assuming we can’t handle Asian leads in ‘Akira.’

^ To add to my point above, the comparison of Cho and Pine was not intended to suggest Pine shouldn’t have been cast – he’s awesome.

I compared him to Cho only in that the “colorblind casting” argument is stupid.

Just another rumor… added to the Chris Pine’s agenda! :-) :-)

And according to IMDB they finished filming “Welcome to People “… are already in post- production… Does Alex Kurtzman will now meet with Bob Orci and Damon Lindelof to finish the screenplay for Star Trek?…

Some news about that, Anthony Pascale?

:-) :-)

NOT chris pine. gotta be a nobody kid/teen/VERY young adult to be any of the leads. Neo York id could imagine… if it actually was New Jersey and New York mostly ruins no taller than 2 stories…

There’s NO intrinsic issue in a remake of a film transposed from one culture to another so long as they fully own what they do and deliver a piece that stands by itself. Kurosawa pulled from Shakespeare and the occasional American novel and Holywood+Italy returned the favor didn’t they? I don’t think any of those films were bad.

I can think of films like Taxi and Solaris which I thought didn’t work in their remade form but I challenge anyone to make a case that their failures were rooted in the transposition from one culture to the next.

What scares me most is the age of Pine. I think you can always make a story with an older Kaneda but I see that as so much of a break from the manga that they may as well change the name and take more liberties with the story.

On the Last Air Benders, the flood of Indian-American(?) actors playing Fire nation I found distracting. I’m not sure where bad acting ends and bad direction begins, but I found it hard to believe Indian-Amerinans as the fire nation. Throwing in that guy from Hercules and Asif Mandhavi (most famous for playing “THAT INDIAN GUY” on Law and Order) didn’t help and finally they had to cast a white guy who can act better so at least someone other than Mr. Patel There are some really good Indian-American actors in SF theatre community and Indian has some very good actors so I was rather amazed. I do think the Last Air Bender started to become worse when the Director consciously decided not to verbatim take the script of the show with it’s warmth and humor and just transpose it verbatim to the screen.

Here ends my rant.

Adding to Dee’s queries at #43, is Alex Kurtzman now free to commit himself more fully to help finalise the Star Trek script due in by 31 March?

Another question, please, Anthony or Bob…?

If it is correct that filming of Welcome to People has just finished, why is its release date so far away, in 2012? Surely, there would be a lot less in the way of post-production because of the nature of the story. It appears to take as long to have Welcome to People ready for release as it seems to be for Star Trek, where there is clearly a lot more work to be done in terms of special effects, CGI, etc etc, all of which take more time and money.

i would cast this dude, Ken Leung, as Kaneda, and keep James McAvoy as Tetsuo, keep Neo-Tokyo, which would explain why a white boy transfer student would get his ass kicked the first day and need Kaneda to step up and defend him.


…And what would explain why the white boy’s name is Tetsuo??

It would be like like casting Kate Bosworth as character named LaQuanda.

A no go! Absolutely. Always that americanized shit. It’s japanese stuff and it should stay that way. Next step will be a US version of Space-Battleship Yamato.

This would be a dumbass career move for Pine. Never heard of this stuff and don’t really care to explore it.