The live-action and, yes, Americanized (Say good-bye Neo Tokyo, hello New Manhattan) adaptation of the classic anime film and manga series "Akira" seems to moving full steam ahead.
Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Katsuhiro Otomo's 6-volume graphic novel two years ago, and is planning to focus the movie (or, perhaps, series of movies) on that material rather than simply remaking the classic 1988 animated film. Both stories focus on two juvenile deliquent friends - Kaneda and Tetsuo - who struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo. Things get complicated (and surreal) when Tetsuo begins developing terrifying and powerful psychic abilities.
According to Deadline, shortlist of actors includes Robert Pattinson ("Twilight"), Andrew Garfield ("The Amazing Spider-Man"), and James McAvoy ("X-Men: First Class") for Tetsuo, and Garret Hedlund ("Tron: Legacy"), Michael Fassbender ("X-Men: First Class"), Chris Pine ("Star Trek"), Justin Timberlake ("The Social Network"), and Joaquin Phoenix ("Walk the Line") for Kaneda.
Warner Bros. still has director Albert Hughes attached - although there is no mention made of his brother and directing partner Allen (the pair have so far done all of their films - "Menace II Society," "Dead Presidents," "From Hell," and "The Book of Eli" - as a team). This would seem to verify rumors that the two were planning on splitting up to pursue separate projects.
Warner Bros. and Legendary Films plan to make at least 2 movies, based on 3 of the installments in Otomo's series.
For the newbies, here's a trailer for the animated film.