Media Consumers for Entertainment Equality


Actor George Takei Talks “AKIRA” with CBC Radio

May 4, 2011

Art by Ken Taya

“We want Akira to be successful. And they can make it successful by not offending the people that love Akira.” – George Takei

On May 2nd, CBC Radio’s Jian Ghomeshi interviewed George Takei about his position on Warner Bros. Picture’s proposed adaptation of Akira. In March and April the Asian American community expressed concerns about rumors that the roles of the two lead characters, Tetsuo and Kaneda, were only being offered to white actors. (Visit our Campaign page on Akira to learn more.)

The entire interview (13 minutes) can be heard at the CBC website: Is Hollywood Guilty of Whitewashing?

Readers astridmyrna and taira602 at the Racebending.com livejournal community also transcribed the interview, here

“How would you get someone who has a track record, if they don’t give anybody the opportunity to run on that track? You’ll never have that.” – George Takei, responding to the argument that Asian American actors aren’t given starring roles because they aren’t “bankable.”

At the end of the interview, Takei expresses hope that Warner Bros. will meet with Racebending.com and other Asian American community organizations. “I think we may be about to see a change, or that they might drop the project, and do something very original,” Takei said.

Racebending.com has been told that Warner Bros. is committed to having a meeting about AKIRA with Racebending.com and other Asian American organizations.

Categories: Akira, blog
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About the Author

Marissa Lee is one of the co-founders of Racebending.com

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  • Aiyo

    It was a nice interview I just wished when asked about the whole black spiderman thing, he would have said that actors of colours do not get the same opportunities to play positive roles as white actors do and there is still a heavy imbalance.

    Like with the racebending of Pretty Little Liars

  • Thawhtet8

    Hollywood was like.. OHH!! AKIRA ARE LIKE Hell’s Angels and Outlaws MC (just because it is about bikes)?

    This ain’t Boom Bang film, it contains themes and philosophy!
    They’re going to destroy these themes with 3d.

  • Thawhtet8

    The only race bending in Pretty Little liars was Black girl to an asian (which most of you guys want)?

  • Mike

    Mr. Takei mentions in the interview that Warner will meet with you guys next month. If that is the case, please do not back down with this issue. For example, settling for Asians in supporting or background roles.

    Just now it’s been announced that Keanu Reeves is in early talks to play Kaneda. Reeves may be part Asian but he doesn’t look it. That’s why he has been playing white roles his whole career. It seems to me that Warner is eying Reeves so that they can have it both ways. This is unacceptable and clearly Warner playing tricks. Hopefully the staff at Racebending agrees with my assessment on this.

  • Shizaquawn

    Hey guys! Full support. I’m a white dude, but there’s no way in Hell I want to see AKIRA filmed in New York, nor do I want to see Justin Bieber or Keanu Reeves or anyone else in that role.

  • You know that Keanu Reeves he can play Nezu. And leave Asian Americans to play the role.