Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter Might Show Up in 'Akira'

Monday, 24 October 2011 08:31 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter Might Show Up in 'Akira'

For three years now, Warner Bros has been developing a live-action remake of Akira, the 1988 anime classic adapted by Katsuhiro Otomo from his own epic manga series.  For a while there, it looked like budgetary concerns for the Americanized Akira would keep the project moribund, but just last week we learned that director Jaume Collett-Serra, who joined the project in July after Albert Hughes departed, had wrangled the budget, getting Akira a green light.  Now that it appears the project is moving forward, casting is the focus of attention, and a new rumor asserts that British thespians Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter have both been offered crucial parts in the film.

Otomo's story takes place in futuristic Neo-Tokyo and follows two unsupervised youngsters, Kaneda, who leads a biker gang known as the Capsules, and Tetsuo, his co-dependent little brother-type.  The timid Tetsuo turns out to have potentially devastating psychic powers like those of a boy who destroyed Tokyo decades earlier, so basically, Kaneda and female lead Kei to stop the rapidly mutating and spiralling out-of control Tetsuo.

According to Twitch, Oldman and Bonham Carter have been offered the roles of The Colonel and Lady Miyako, respectively, in the new Akira, which shifts the action to New Manhattan and, in doing so, abandons the subtextual relevance of Japan's status as the only country devastated by atomic weaponry.  But I digress.  Obviously, The Colonel, named Shikishima in the original, is a military man, one in intent on taking out Tetsuo.  Lady Miyako, is a former scientific test subject and priestess who becomes instrumental as the story progresses.

Both actors are veterans of the Harry Potter franchise, in which Oldman played Sirius Black and Bonham Carter played Bellatrix Lestrange.  Steve Kloves, who wrote every screenplay in that franchise with the exception of Harry Potter and the Order and the Phoenix, provided rewrites on Akira, as well.  The two actors are starring in big, currently-filming features for Warner Bros, too.  Gary Oldman reprises his role as Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight Rises, while Helena Bonham Carter plays a supporting role in Tim Burton's gothic soap opera Dark Shadows.

Garrett Hedlund, who starred in last year's TRON: Legacy is said to be the frontrunner to play Kaneda.  Twitch reports that Hedlund is indeed in talks for the part, but specifies that Oldman and Bonham Carter are actually further along in negotiations.  Actors like Robert Pattinson and Andrew Garfield were rumored to be on the shortlist to play Tetsuo back when Albert Hughes was still directing, but it's unknown if they remain candidates for the job. 

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