If it's crap ... We'll tell you
On and on the casting mill churns for the live-action remake of 'Akira.' In addition to the recent news that Kristen Stewart was in talks to play Kei, it was reported that Gary Oldman had also been offered a role. The role turned out to be that of The Colonel. Well now it seems Oldman is off the project and the role of The Colonel has been offered to Ken Watanabe ('Batman Begins,' 'Inception'). Seeing as 'Akira' is a Warner Brothers production, the studio that has produced almost all of Watanabe's American films, one wonders why this didn't come about sooner. Once again, this casting is far from set in stone. WB and Watanabe are currently just in negotiations.
It seems odd to be excited that a Japanese actor might be occupying a role in 'Akira,' the live-action version of an anime. But with the remake's apparent tendency toward whitewash, this is legitimately surprising. And while it may be a convenience move on Warner Brother's part, and even if they've put no further thought into casting Watanabe than the fact that they've worked with him before, the man is a terrific actor and it would benefit the project to have him aboard. Say what you will about 'The Last Samurai,' but Watanabe was sensational in it. His parts within his collaborations with Christopher Nolan were considerably smaller, but he still delivered with gusto. Now let's just hope THIS deal holds up.