There's no mention of who the Pirates of the Caribbean actress might play in the live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s groundbreaking cyberpunk manga and anime. However, the likely candidate is Kei, a young revolutionary who becomes the love interest of carefree gang leader Kaneda (Hedlund) in his search for his friend Tetsuo.
Serialized from 1982 to 1990, Akira is set in a post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo — it’s changed to New Manhattan for the U.S. movie — gripped by gang violence and anti-government terrorism. When Tetsuo, a young member of a biker gang, manifests telepathic powers, he draws the attention of the government, which fears he poses a threat.
After several setbacks, including the loss of director Albert Hughes in May, the $90 million movie was finally greenlit two weeks ago, with Unknown's Jaume Collet-Serra at the helm. Warner Bros. has made offers to Gary Oldman, Helena Bonham Carter, Hedlund and Knightley, but so far only Hedlund has entered negotiations. Oldman would play the Colonel and Bonham Carter the high priestess Lady Miyako.
Production is expected to begin on Akira in late February or early March.