Media Consumers for Entertainment Equality



Hollywood is adapting the classic manga and anime AKIRA to the silver screen. Given the current lack of lead roles for actors of color in the science fiction genre, the complex characters of AKIRA would be a great opportunity for Asian American actors. Will directors Albert and Allen Hughes cast Asian American actors to play the iconic roles of Kaneda and Tetsuo?

The latest draft script for Akira is reportedly set in “Neo-Manhattan” instead of Neo-Tokyo. Given the prominence and popularity of the original Akira, we know fans will be closely following the development of this Warner Bros. production. On March 22nd, 2011, Deadline.com reported that eight actors have been invited to audition–all of the actors are white.

On Tuesday, March 29th, Racebending.com and several Asian American community organizations voiced concerns about the casting process for AKIRA and other upcoming Warner Bros. productions by sending a letter to Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov. The letter requests a meeting with the studio.

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.


1. Retweet our Tweet about the situation to help get the word out. On March 22nd, we were featured on the front page of Twitter.

2. Join the Facebook Petition and tell your friends so we can get an exact number of people who are upset about the decision to whitewash this film.

3. Blog about the situation on your own blog and/or encourage your favorite bloggers to do the same.

Recommended Reading:

Archive of Articles on “Akira”

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