Warner Bros. casting for their upcoming live-action adaptation of Akira, based on the Japanese manga ("comic book") series by Katsuhiro Otomo has been pretty, well, Caucasian so far. Garrett Hedlund is set to play heroic biker gang leader Shotaro Kaneda, while Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga) has been offered the role of Kei, a powerful medium and Kaneda's love interest, and Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter were offered the roles of The Colonel and Lady Miyako, respectively. Like we said, pretty Caucasian.
Of course, the live-action Akira will take place in New Manhattan, unlike the Neo-Tokyo of the manga series and 1988 anime adaptation, but that hasn't stopped a furor of online criticism. George Takei (Star Trek) has led an online petition against the "whitewashing" of Akira and recently told The Advocate that if the studio continues with its casting, they could "offend Asians, number 1; number 2, they offend the fans". Whatever the motivation, it seems like Warners is finally looking to bring an Asian actor onto the cast, with Ken Watanabe possibly stepping in for Oldman. several contenders up for the role of Tetsuo >>