Actor Toby Kebbell has been saying some interesting thing lately. Kebbell, who played Agenor in the recently released Wrath of the Titans, was reported to be number one in line for the role of Tetsuo Shima in Warner Bros. adaptation of Akira. Currently the rumors are that the film will be a live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s animated film, and not of the graphic novel (manga) of the same name that Otomo also wrote.
Kebbell should be ecstatic as he claims to be a fan of the manga and original movie. However, after he heard some of the creative choices of the live-action script, it did not sit well with him. Speaking with IFC, Kebbell had this to say:
They were like, “This is going to be a big franchise!” So I said, “Then in that case, understand that I’ve read the comics, and I’ve read the comics that got turned into the annuals, and then the annuals that got turned into the one-off anime. So if you really want to do it, then why don’t you look at the six comics and just put two into each film?”
That way my character, Tetsuo, is not the lead. He’s not the second lead, and he’s not the third or the fourth lead, because there are eight major characters there. You’ve got great young actors, and you could get them in there. That’s the way to do it if you want to do sequels.
They were like, “Welllll…” So I told them, “Then this is a remake [of the animated movie], and I don’t want to do a live-action remake of the cartoon, because [the cartoon] is perfect and you’re not going to do it dark enough — so therefore, I don’t want to do it.
Kebbell also said that the studio wanted to make Tetsuo and Kaneda brothers, which was one of his biggest problems with the script.
The other thing they wanted to do was make [Tetsuo and Kaneda] brothers. I was like, “The point is that Tetsuo can’t comprehend how someone who isn’t his brother could love him so much — and that’s where his wrath and his rage come from. Do you not see that? Why have you made them brothers? What the fuck are you doing?
Yep, it looks like Tetsuo and Kaneda will be brothers. To ensure that nothing is amiss in casting, Garrett Hedlund of TRON: Legacy is already favored to play the part of Kaneda. It would just be weird if one was Asian and the other wasn’t. Heaven forbid we have another public outcry about casting visible minorities in corresponding character roles. Like with Rue in the Hunger Games.
Yes, it seems to make perfect sense for Hollywood to whitewash an entire script that was originally written in Japanese; names and all. So why go out of their way to mangle the story that’s already popular and will automatically make money? There’s absolutely no need for it. If they were to make any changes, it would have been easier to swallow if Tetsuo and Kaneda were brothers because they were alien ninja turtles. If I wasn’t annoyed enough, let me remind everyone that Kristen Stewart was offered the role of Kei for goodness sakes!
To quote Jamie Noguchi, they should, “Rename the Stupid Thing Steve.”
An excerpt from the AngryZenMaster:
“If you want to keep the plot but cast all White people, just change all the names. Instead of Tetsuo, try Eddie. Instead of Kaneda, try Paul. Instead of Akira, call the goddamn thing Steve. Why Steve? Well, if you’re Japanese, Akira is a pretty generic name. If you’re American, Steve is a pretty generic name. I mean sure, it’ll sound really silly to hear Eddie scream at the top of his lungs, “WHAT IS STEVE?!” But it would make the whitewashing of this film much more bearable.”
Akira has been regarded by critics as a landmark anime film. The one that influenced in the anime world that followed its release. It is like the mother of all anime. Epic on its first try. While it’s refreshing to hear that a young actor is not only honest, but informed on the work he’s partaking in, it pains me to think it’s done nothing from stopping this monstrosity of a film from being made. Kebbell won some points today, but while burning bridges it won’t make a difference in Akira being churned out of Hollywood.
However, it seems that we may not be able to see the changes after all, as of January 6, 2012, production has been “shut down” for the fourth time. There is no word when or if it will be picked back up again anytime soon.