Acting Auditions, an employment resource for actors, posted a plot description for the live-action film adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira manga on Tuesday. The short description was sent out as part of a casting call for extras and stand-ins in the film....and here is that plot synopsis.
Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother, Tetsuo, is abducted by government agents led by The Colonel.
Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers.
Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo's mind. Kaneda clashes with The Colonel's troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island, as he did thirty years ago.
Now that that's out of the way, this is almost exactly what I thought it was going to be -- i.e., not Akira. Oh, it's a dumb, 90-minute, mediocre-budgeted, dumbed-down American movie interpretation of Akira, but it's not Akira. No sense of disenfranchised youth or rebellion against an oppressive, patro-fascist society? Not Akira. No genuine conflict between Tetsuo and Kaneda? Not Akira. No Japan? Not Akira (I do believe some works of art are fundamentally tied to times and places; I don't think you could make a modern Japanese version of Easy Rider and have it mean the same thing, and I don't think you can make Akira outside of '80s Japan [which does mean yes, I think a modern Japanese remake of Akira would also be diluted, but anyways]).
But god help me, what's bothering me most at the minute are the names. Really? They're going to transfer the story to New York City and have Garret Hedlund play a dude named Kaneda? That is absurd, and the perfect example of the short-sightedness guiding the American Akira. I hope to god these are just placeholder names, and they're still figuring them out. But I sincerely doubt it. There's going to be a scene where Kristen Stewart calls Garret Hedlund "Kaneda" and our brains are going to all leak out our ears.