While Warner Brothers may have been talking with Gary Oldman about playing the role of The Colonel in their upcoming live action adaption of the classic anime Akira, the studio has decided to offer the part to Ken Watanabe. Warners hasn’t commented on the offer and Watanabe has yet to accept.
The Colonel is the head of a futuristic secret military project that kidnaps a motorcycle gang member in order to turn him into a weapon by enhancing his latent psychic powers, unaware that the experiment will lead to disastrous results. It remains to be seen if this move will silence those critics of the project upset that over their perceptions that the Japanese story was being cast with all Caucasian actors. Personally, I don’t care so much about an actor’s race as long as it doesn’t have a bearing on the character they happen to be playing. That said, I think Watanabe is a great choice for the part an is one of the first things about the film that has really sparked my interest.
It is not known if Helena Bonham Carter, who was said to be in consideration for the role of Lady Miyako in the same report that mentioned Oldman, is has had an offer extended to her.
Currently Garret Hedlund is in talks with the studio for the role of Kaneda and Kristen Stewart is in negotiations for the part of Kei. The studio and director Jaume Collet-Serra hope to have the film in production by next spring.