Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Akira has officially reached the “call Keanu Reeves” stage, as both The Hollywood Reporter and Vulture are saying that the studio has reached out to Reeves about providing the necessary name-recognition to slightly offset the possibility that their $230 million, Hughes Brothers-directed version of the beloved manga and 1988 anime film will be a huge, expensive, fan-despised disaster. Reeves—like Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, James Franco, and a bunch of other white guys before him—is currently in talks to take over the lead role of Kaneda, the teenaged Japanese gang leader who, in this retelling, is no longer teenaged nor Japanese, in keeping with the story’s shift from Neo-Tokyo to New Manhattan and away from other things that make it identifiably Akira. Though as of now, the film will still concern the quest by Kaneda (or will it be Ken Ada?) to save his friend Tetsuo (Ted Suo?) from a possibly world-destroying government project, of course, and we’re guessing it will still have cool motorcycles. And of course, Reeves proved he can outrun world-destroying government projects on his motorcycle in Chain Reaction, so he’s already halfway there.
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