It’s not been a great week for the manga adaptation, as it loses a potential star and a lot of its staff within days of each other.
Matrix star Keanu Reeves will not be appearing in the Western remake/reinterpretation of Akira. It was reported earlier this month that the actor was in informal talks for the movie’s lead role of Kaneda – or whatever he ends up being called in the final version of the script – but it appears that those talks have come to nothing.
Reeves is hardly the first high-profile name that has been linked with the project in some way. Zack Efron, Morgan Freeman, Robert Pattinson, and James McAvoy, to name but a few, have all been rumored either to be involved with the movie, or to be of interest to the directors and/or producers. Warner Bros., which has a close relationship with Reeves after the Matrix movies, is said to be disappointed that he turned the project down, but is continuing to look for a lead actor for the movie.
The ongoing search for a leading man isn’t the only problem that the production seems to be facing. Warner has shut down the movie’s pre-viz unit, and let most of the people working on the film go. The two events are not thought to be linked however, and Warner said it is committed to making the film. “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.”
The fact that the production has slowed down does not mean the film will not be made, just that it might take longer to get to the big screen than expected. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either, as fans would undoubtedly prefer that the movie was made right, rather than quickly.