Zac Efron has apparently been offered the lead role in Albert Hughes’ upcoming live-action adaptation of the cult anime/Katsuhiro Otomo‘s six-volume manga Akira. Set-up at Warner Bros through Leonardo DiCaprio‘s production company Appian Way, the project has been in development for some time with screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. Gary Whitta [The Book of Eli] had previously been involved.
Producer Andrew Lazar said previously that Hughes was busy “conceptualizing the movie with a bunch of visual artists” and working with a new screenwriter, Albert Torres to put his stamp on Akira. That draft was due in September. Hughes has also talked about the film being PG-13 and the idea that he might only direct the first of two planned films. The previous screenplay was set in a post-apocalyptic “New Manhattan” and will feature Akira’s famous red motorcycle. The original Katsuhiro Otomo anime was set in a futuristic and post-war city, Neo-Tokyo, in 2019. As for the casting, here is an excerpt from a previous posting by Russ Fischer:
"No cast has ever publicly revealed to be attached. The involvement of Appian Way led many to suspect that DiCaprio would star as the teen biker Kaneda, despite being demonstrably too old for the part, but the actor publicly denied any involvement beyond producing duties. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was rumored to be in mind for Tetsuo, the friend of Kaneda whose psychic powers are awakened, setting of a cataclysmic chain of destructive events in Neo-Tokyo. He also denied any attachment."