The race to play Tetsuo in Akira heats up

It's been interesting to watch Warner Brothers' plans for Jaume Collet-Serra's live-action, $90M budgeted remake of Akira shift over the last few months. Initially planned with a much larger budget, the studio made it clear it's plans to corral an A-list talent to be the face of the film. But finding that guy proved to be difficult, and so the budget was slashed, and casting expectations lowered. Garrett Hedlund(Tron: Legacy) earned the lead role of gang leader, Kaneda, trying to stop the rampage of his telekinetic friend, Tetsuo, whose powers are raging out of control.

Casting Tetsuo has proven to be difficult, though. We've seen names like Paul Dano(Little Miss Sunshine), Alden Ehrenreich(Tetro), and Ezra Miller(City Island) mentioned as having tested, with Miller recently stating that it wasn't in his future plans. Now THR has come out with a more extensive list of names, including DJ Cotrona(GI Joe: Retaliation), Logan Marshall Green(Devil), Toby Kebbell(Rocknrolla), Richard Madden(Game of Thrones), Rami Malek(Night at the Museum), and Michael Pitt(Funny Games). Each will be testing for the role, with Dano and Ehrenreich stepping in for another go'round.

My personal preference still leans towards Ehrenreich, because I think he has the look and physical presence needed for the part. Plus the guy is on the cusp of stardom, and this might be the part that does it for him. Toby Kebbell would be a solid choice, as well. The fact that they're looking at such young actors means Warner Brothers has smartened since they were looking at folks like Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves to star. The thought makes me shudder. Akira die-hards aren't happy the film is happening at all, but think how much worse it could've been.

Whoever wins may have a chance to work alongside Kristen Stewart, still considering the offer to play Ky Reed(Kei in the Japanese version), a rebel fighter with mental powers of her own fighting against the government's use of children as living weapons.  Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter have been offered roles as well.

The script by Steve Kloves(Harry Potter) will stick closer to the manga than the anime most of us know and love, and will divide the story into two separate films.