sciencefiction.com asks: Is It Possible To Remake Akira With Non-Asian Actors?

Still from the original Akira anime

sciencefiction.com asks: Is It Possible To Remake ‘Akira’ With Non-Asian Actors And Remain Faithful To The Original?

No.

Next question…

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Is It Possible To Remake ‘Akira’ With Non-Asian Actors And Remain Faithful To The Original?
The American live-action remake of the legendary anime film ‘Akira’ has had a rocky journey so far. This is in no small part to the studios decision to cast Caucasian actors in the roles of Japanese c…

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About rcosgrove

UK-based journalist, screenwriter and director.

14 responses to “sciencefiction.com asks: Is It Possible To Remake Akira With Non-Asian Actors?”

  1. Mycal Whitlock says :

    And just in case the first No wasn't clear, No. Hell no. Hell double no.

  2. John Pappas says :

    No. Seconded and passed. Next agenda item please.

  3. Amanda Rachelle Warren says :

    Oh, this is such a bad/wrong/bad/shit idea, isn't it? I mean why remake it in the first place? And then why be racist shits about it to top it all off? It seems that if race isn't an integral part of Akira (which it IS), then PLACE certainly is. Why shift it from Tokyo to New York? It will lose pretty much all of the important undertones and message of the story. I agree with Takei…why do it at all if you're going to miss the point?

  4. Richard Cosgrove says :

    +Mycal Whitlock The only things that encourage me that this film will be half-way decent are:Ken Watanabe is playing the Colonel, andand…er…well…ah…yeah………Actually, that's it.

  5. John Pappas says :

    <kaff> The Last Airbender <hack> <wheeze>

  6. Mycal Whitlock says :

    Ugh. I didn't click the link, I had no idea they were already doing it. It's a sad day now.

  7. Richard Cosgrove says :

    +Mycal Whitlock The Americanised Akira has been in preproduction for at least a year now. Leonardo DiCaprio was rumoured to be playing 'Kaneda' (or 'Trevor' as he'll probably be called in this version). Now DiCaprio can be an amazing actor in the right project (like _What's Eating Gilbert Grape_), but DiCaprio playing a 15 year-old biker? No. No. Hell no. No.+John Pappas Didn't see it. It did give me many laughs when I heard about the "You are the last bender" lines. Sometimes American English does not translate into English.+Amanda Rachelle Warren Assuming your question is not rhetorical: because film studio development execs think that a Western audience would be highly unlikely to see a post-Apocalyptic movie set in Japan, where it being Japan is key to the whole story. I don't see it as racism – I just see it as Hollywood execs being mercenary arseholes who have the creative instincts of a stapler.

  8. Frances Uku says :

    Some staplers actually turn in fine work (see: Office Space) so I might suggest a more fitting indictment of the Hollywood cogs, +Richard Cosgrove. #blegh

  9. Amanda Rachelle Warren says :

    +Richard Cosgrove …totally rhetorical. I do see it as slightly racist though, in the very least by assuming that "mainstream" America won't watch something that isn't filled with white people. Same with The Last Airbender. The ONLY minorities in that horrible, horrible joyless mess were Fire Nation. So, brown people bad guys? That shit was racist; no way around that one as far as I can see. And, yes, Hollywood execs have "the creative instincts of staplers" (good metaphor).

  10. Amanda Rachelle Warren says :

    +Frances Uku , you're right, I take it back. Staplers are useful.

  11. John Pappas says :

    I dislike the need to replace a perfectly good movie with a whitewashed cast and (I assume) location. The belief, I guess is that an Asian cast will not pull in audiences unless they a) know kung-fu b) provide wisdom for white hero or c) is Jackie Chan.The Last Samurai is a perfect example. Great cast and wonderful story except for the blasted white dude thrown into the middle.

  12. Richard Cosgrove says :

    +Frances Uku Replacement for stapler: Coffee pot carved from ice.+Amanda Rachelle Warren I don't see remakes where the characters are changed from one nationality to another as inherently racist. Idiotic, yes. But not racist.One of the reasons Akira stands up as a classic on the international market is that its characters are all archetypal. So because they're recognisable no matter what their nationality is, it is possible to transplant Akira to another country and for it to remain Akira. The Lion King moved Hamlet to the plains of Africa and turned much of the cast into lions, while Sons of Anarchy moved it to very-small town California and turned the Danish royal family into a biker gang, but both works, and the characters, are recognisable as being, and from, Hamlet.But, to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum explaining one of the subtexts of Jurassic Park during the film, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should do it. In this case, moving Akira to New York, as you said, destroys subtleties from the original work.I haven't seen Airbender but making the bad guys non-Caucasian does sound like standard Hollywood racism: every 'good guy' must be white, heterosexual, preferably, upper-middle class, and male (except for romcoms, where white, heterosexual, upper-middle class women can sometimes be co-hero).What really beats me is why the need a new script. Take the anime script, translate it, clean up the translation. You're done. It shouldn't take four writers to do that.

  13. Richard Cosgrove says :

    Now I'm going to go to sleep. My head's about to crash onto my keyboard.

  14. Amanda Rachelle Warren says :

    +Richard Cosgrove , changing race in films is NEVER inheritenly racist, in fact it is often quite the opposite, and can add layers to a story, or important complexities. And oftentimes it doesn't matter one bit what race a person is…like with Spiderman. And certainly, with your Hamlet examples, a reimagining of a story can point out the universiality of some themes. This, however, does not feel like one of those situations. The storyline of Akira is perhaps an imaginative Sci-Fi response to the nuclear attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, but it is still very clearly a response. To change the place, and the race of the characters is to lose all of that, only to satisfy predominently white moviegoers. That seems a little fishy to me.

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