During the recent press junket for “Wrath of the Titans,” I noticed that actor Toby Kebbell had once been named as a leading candidate to play Tetsuo — one of the lead roles — in the live-action “Akira” movie that stalled out just a few days earlier.
I expected to get a brief, brush-off answer when I asked him about the project, so I saved it for the end of our interview. I’m glad I asked about it, though, as he offered a really interesting response that showed a deep knowledge of — and appreciation for — the original Akira manga and the animated movie that was made from it.
Here’s an excerpt from the article I wrote about his response:
“They were like, ‘This is going to be a big franchise!’” he explained. “So I said, ‘Then in that case, understand that I’ve read the comics, and I’ve read the comics that got turned into the annuals, and then the annuals that got turned into the one-off anime. So if you really want to do it, then why don’t you look at the six comics and just put two into each film?’”
“That way my character, Tetsuo, is not the lead,” he continued. “He’s not the second lead, and he’s not the third or the fourth lead, because there are eight major characters there. You’ve got great young actors, and you could get them in there. That’s the way to do it if you want to do sequels.”
The studio’s response, according to Kebbell, was not exactly encouraging.
“They were like, ‘Welllll…’” he shrugged. “So I told them, ‘Then this is a remake [of the animated movie], and I don’t want to do a live-action remake of the cartoon, because [the cartoon] is perfect and you’re not going to do it dark enough — so therefore, I don’t want to do it.”
You can read the rest of the article at IFC.com.
Here’s hoping we get the “Akira” movie Toby is hoping for, and not the studio version he describes in the interview.