Taika Waititi and his team look to be fulfilling their promise to cast a live-action adaptation of the anime Akira with young Asian talent!
Casting calls and breakdowns for the futuristic project from backstage have revealed that the movie’s producers are looking for men and women to play a large ensemble cast.
In addition to having clear plot and personality analogues to characters from the anime, each of them are described as being Japanese in ethnic origin. This is a huge sign that Waititi’s Akira will be sticking to the original racial identities of its characters and verification that the project will not be whitewashed in the same vein of Dragon Ball Evolution, Ghost In the Shell, or the other doomed anime adaptations.
While the movie’s primarily language will be English, it appears that certain lines or moments may be spoken in Japanese.
The story takes place in an enormous dystopian metropolis called Neo-Tokyo that was devastated by a psychic superhuman named Akira.
You have your three leads, Jun, Koichi, and Misa, who all correspond to Kaneda, Tetsuo, and Kei in the original movie. The three all become entangled in a bitter conflict that draws in friends, foes, and the military after Koichi (Tetsuo) unlocks unstoppable psychic potential. Waititi has also indicated that he means to draw more inspiration and plot details from the Akira manga than the anime movie did.
KOICHI: Male, 18-24 Male, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-20’s to play 17: Constantly forced to punch up in order to survive. He’s fearless to the point of recklessness. He is haunted by the loss of a loved one. LEAD.
JUN: Male, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-20’s to play 18: Sharp-eyed, sinewy, tough, handsome, cool. He is the leader of a street gang of teenagers & knows how to have a good time. JUN should not be too cool or too tough. He’s a scrappy, ragtag kid who’s not worried about anything. Your weird, natural authentic self is encouraged! LEAD.
MISA: Female, 18-30 Female, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-30: Beautiful, intelligent, strong-willed. She is a member of an anti-government organization trying to save her city. LEAD.
The next three roles are undoubtedly Kaori, Yamagata, and Kai, the three core members of Kaneda’s biker gang, the Capsules.
Reina (Kaori in the original) is Koichi’s (Tetsuo’s) sensitive, long-suffering love interest. In the anime, Kaori is victimized by both Tetsuo’s rival gang members and Tetsuo himself, If Reina is to suffer the same traumatic experiences as her anime counterpart, it’s likely the filmmakers wanted to go with an adult rather than an actual teenager.
REINA: Female, 18-24 Female, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 17: Gentle, kind, cute, compassionate. She is a member of a biker gang & cares deeply for Koichi. SUPPORTING LEAD.
TAKAMATSU: Male, 18-24 Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 18: Large, tough, loyal, short-fused. A member of Jun’s gang & a close friend. SUPPORTING LEAD.
YUKI: Male, 18-24 Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 16: A small, clever, brainy technical wiz, he is the youngest member of Jun’s street gang. SUPPORTING LEAD.
The following supporting character descriptions appear to be for the mysterious, espers, psychic children who were developed in a secret research project to act as powerful weapons. In the wake of the appearance of a new psychic superhuman, they are taken out of their intensive, sedative care and tasked with protecting the city.
While they retain the size and frailty of children, the toll of the experiments performed on the espers has rapidly aged their bodies. The filmmakers are evidently going with actual children that will have makeup or effects used to make them appear wizened.
GEN: Male, 10-12. Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus), age 10: A small, mysterious boy on an urgent mission; he is humble, shy, compassionate & wise beyond his years. SUPPORTING LEAD.