Franco may play Kaneda in Akira
|NEWS - MOVIE NEWS|
He does pull off the manga hair and cheekbones...
James Franco, whose first prominent film role was that of Harry Osborn in the first Spider-Man movie, may be bringing another classic comic character to the big screen. JustJared reports that Franco is in talks with Warner Brothers to take on the role of Kaneda in the new live-action Akira movie.
Akira is due to hit theaters in 2013, and will be directed by the Hughes Brothers (From Hell, The Book of Eli). In November, it was rumored that Zac Efron was being considered for the lead, and that Morgan Freeman would portray The Colonel (Colonel Shikishima) in the film. If Franco accepts the role of Kaneda, does that mean that Zac Efron is out, and can manga fans worldwide breathe a sigh of relief? Or could Efron be in line for a lesser role, perhaps that of Tetsuo Shima, Kaneda's best friend and rival?
For those unfamiliar with the source material, 'Akira' was a seminal Japanese comic (or manga) that achieved worldwide cult status and is credited with increasing manga popularity to its early-90's zenith. It presents a teenage motorcycle gang in post-apocalyptic neo-Tokyo, led by Kaneda; his best friend Shima becomes psychic in the wake of a motorcycle accident, due to the interference of a shadow government organization led by The Colonel. The story of Akira was already made into an animated feature film in 1988. The anime cut out much of the story's intricacies and subplots, as was necessary to compress a six-volume manga into a 2-hour movie. The new Akira live-action film must do the same, although initially it was rumored that it might be split into two different feature films in order to do justice to a greater part of the story. In order to Westernize the story, the new Akira film will be set in Neo-Manhattan.
After an Oscar-nominated performance in 127 Hours, and with an Oscar-hosting gig coming up this month, James Franco has been in high demand recently. Recently, he was in talks to play the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz prequel, entitled Oz: the Great and Powerful, also due out in 2013. In addition to movie acting, Franco is attending graduate school, recently published a book of short stories, and will be starring with Nicole Kidman in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' 'Sweet Bird of Youth'. Let's hope he finds time to do all of this, plus Akira and the Wizard, as well as Pineapple Express 2, please?
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