Keanu Reeves Leaves Akira Remake
Rumours had been circulating that Keanu Reeves was in negotiations to play Kaneda in Warner Bros’ proposed live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel and eighties animated film of the same name. Now though, it appears that Reeves has officially turned down the role, leaving the project without casting for either of its two central roles.
Warner Bros had been hoping that casting Reeves would ease their attempts to cast another A-lister as best-friend Tetsuo. Their plans though have been scuppered by The Matrix star’s declining of their offer, leading to speculation that the $140 million budgeted production, which has The Book of Eli helmer Albert Hughes lined up to occupy the director’s chair, could be headed for problems.
Warners has denied this, saying: “Production on Akira has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been greenlit and is very much still in the production stage. The exploratory process is crucial to a project of this size and we will continue to sculpt our approach to making the best possible film.”
Reeves moving himself out of the frame will most likely please devotees of the original. The actor isn’t exactly unaccustomed to feeling the wrath of disgruntled fans though, as for every Neo-supporter there’s one who voiced their disapproval of his casting in Francis Lawrence’s Constantine (the original character was a blonde-haired Brit, not overly in keeping with Reeves dark-haired surf-dude-accented Yank), or as a contemporary Klaatu in 2009’s The Day The Earth Stood Still remake (currently with a laughable 21% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes)
Despite being criticised for his thesping talents, or more pertinently the lack thereof, he has made some astute decisions and choices in his career, continually picking roles that have proved successful, with critics and audiences, of sometimes simultaneously with both. Akira won’t be one of these choices.