Over the weekend there was some disturbing news, that High School Musical’s Zac Efron was possibly in talks to play the lead character of Shotaro Kaneda; in the upcoming adaptation of the classic Katshiro Otomo’s Manga / Anime AKIRA. The iconic comicbook (& animation), to many people, was one of the main routes into the fantastic but sometimes unique world of Manga-Anime. It was one of mine (along with the classic Ghibili animations). To throw a so-called clean imaged actor in to a role that’s full of clown biker gangs, drugs, rapists and anarchy? Nope, I can’t see him doing it and loyal fans of the original won’t let him either. So for now I’ll treat this as a rumour and, hopefully, the prospect that the live action version could become a PG-13 (OR 12a here in the UK & Ireland). However, there is one piece of gossip I do like and its on another one the main characters, Colonel Shikishima. The role may be offered to none other than Morgan Freeman.
In Akira, the colonel is the head honcho of the army, which eventually tries to take over the corrupt ailing government of neo-tokyo in a military coup. He is also responsible for running the experiments on the psychokinetic Espers, which do include the movie’s namesake Akira. He is one of those characters you love to hate, but eventually you end up sympathising with, as he does show that he has some moral views in him at times.
The Colonel plays an important part in the movie and I’m all for Morgan Freeman playing the part. He could be a good choice, but it’s only rumours at this stage. If however Zac Efron does become Kaneda (a part once beleived would be Leonardo Di Caprio’s, with his production company involved in the movie), it would destroy any credability the cult comicbook/animation has ever achieved worldwide; as Efron has never really proven he can act in something with grit. As for Freeman being the Colonel, he is perfect for the Hollywood version! Which, like myself and many other skeptics hope, Albert Hughes can achieve sucess with in a remake/reboot; along with making this an 18 if not not minimum 15 rating.
Morgan Freeman with a mowhawk hairstyle, I look forward to seeing it!!! Even if both pieces of news are just pure gossip at least it shows that the project, which has been in development for a hell of a long time, does look like it starting to drag itself out.