Media Consumers for Entertainment Equality


Warner Bros greenlights “Akira” adaptation

October 20, 2011

On October 19th, Variety reported that Warner Bros has moved to greenlight their adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime AKIRA, with a reduced budget of $90 million to be directed by Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra.

In July 2011, Racebending.com and other Asian American groups met with executives at Warner Bros film division, where we were able to clearly articulate our concerns in a collaborative dialogue. As reflected in our letter to Warner Bros sent in March 2011, we believe that Akira would be an important opportunity to cast Asian American actors in first-billed roles, and that casting white actors in the lead roles would reinforce a glass ceiling.

Whether or not the film will star Asian American actors in lead roles remains unknown, but according to Variety’s sources, white American actor Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) is a front runner for one of the two male lead roles.

Categories: Akira, blog

About the Author

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

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  • Venom

    Ok so WB gets a black man as Perry White, but still wants white guys in Akira?

    You guys should do something about Oldboy too. That one is so offensive it’s sickening. A story about a white man unjustly imprisoned; in an era where Casey Anthony goes free, Troy Davis gets the chair, and God only knows how many Arabs are being kept in captivity. Spike Lee is now the very thing he spent his career protesting.

  • Anonymous

    Marissa, did WB issue any response to that meeting?

    • No, but we mutually agreed that it would be appropriate for Racebending.com to disclose that we met with them and started what we both hope will be a productive conversation.

  • Frostbyte136

    So, what do u guys think about the first video footage of th live action “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney”? Not that im trying to put a point, but, even though the Ace attorney cast is asian (and a japanese film), but u ever wonder if they could have picked a different japanese guy that looks like phoenix wright? Also it would be nice if the actress for Maya would be younger looking. But thats juet my opinion anyways, not meant to nitpick. But i like the costumes though!

    • Stunfire

       you do know that ace attorney is originally a japanese game with japanese characters right? He’s alright

  • Anonymous

    Warner Bros. obviously hasn’t wised up. In fact, they have two other movies set in Japan, in which the protagonist is… you guessed it, white.

    One of those movies is about a white guy raised in Japan, who learns the martial arts, how to become a hitman, etc. etc.

    The other movie is about another white guy who joins the yakuza and quickly rises up the ranks.

    Wow, these movies sound so different from each other. And I don’t think we’ve ever heard these type of stories told in books, TV miniseries, cartoons or movies, have we?

  • Theo B

    This one doesn’t bother me so much because it’s a transpositional adaptation. Like The Magnificent Seven. What bothers me is that they are transpositioning at all and that this will contribute to its general suckage.

  • William Staples

    This will be a disaster. Akira was a perfect movie that specifically addressed issues facing Japan in the 1980s. Remaking it in America with white actors is a travesty.

  • Thawhtet8

    Here’s my plan! Cast everyone as asian except Twilight Guy! I wanted to see Edward turned into deformed mutant.

  • SophieEd

    I am a black female and I feel as if this is our generation’s black face. It is despicable that they are going to have a primarily all white crew, yet still keep the original Japanese names of the characters. If they did that to the black community there would be a huge uproar and Warner would issue a huge apology and fire some people to make amends. It is completely unfair that they can repeatedly do this to the Asian community and get away with it. The worst one by far was the last airbender, where the director repeatedly said that he didn’t see any Asian culture references in the series, when it was completely about Asian culture. I don’t even want to remember the Dragon Ball remake. However, redoing Akira and (eventually) Cowboy Bebop with a white wash cast is going way too far. Those are classics and I feel its going to be an epic fail like the other ones. There should be a massive boycott for all of these films and if you guys organize one a day when this film comes out I will support it 100%. 

  • FFS…. I’m an Asian American (simply American), live in NYC, ride a motorcycle and actually look like Kaneda (esp. after removing my helmet). I also know the anime and manga very well and can be very aggressive on my bike. Hell, I even went to racing schools.

    If they do live action shoots in NYC then I intend on using my riding skills to disrupt whatever I can.