Zac Efron rumors are a dime a dozen, but could High School Musical be making its transition towards futuristic dystopian revolutionary biker gangs? Well, based on a report from Slashfilm, this might be the case. According to them, rumors are making the rounds that none other than Zac Efron has been offered the lead role of character Kaneda in the upcoming live-action version of Katsuhiro Otomo's seminal anime film Akira. However, even their report implies that this should be taken with a grain of salt, as other versions of the rumor from their source state that while Efron is in talks for the role, it is "far from a done deal." The film, which is currently in developmental stages over at Warner, will be directed by Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli, From Hell,) based off a rewritten script by newcomer Albert Torres (Henry Poole is Here.) So, what should we make of this? Are we set to hear the sounds of agony from millions of screaming fanboys as their favorite anime is desecrated? Or will that be drowned-out by the sounds of ecstasy from millions of screaming fangirls who just want to see Efron in red leather pants, bent over on a motorcycle?
I don't know what it is about Zac Efron (seen above sporting a "swirlie"), but his name always seems to come up in these off-the-wall rumors. In fact, earlier this year, rumors had him pegged for taking the role of the new Spider-Man. (Which, ultimately went to Andrew Garfield.) Perhaps, the rumors are simply industry-jockeying in an attempt to get people comfortable with the hypothetical idea of Efron breaking free from his Disney song and dance image towards more substantive roles. (Even if not based in truth.) However, here's the thing: Director Albert Hughes' resume ranges from producing gritty Hip-Hop culturally-centric films like Menace II Society and Dead Presidents to (with brother Allen) directing Johnny Depp in From Hell, the ugly and gory turn-of-the-century detective drama focusing on the hunt for Jack the Ripper. Point being, he's known for making films that embrace the dark and repulsive side of human nature in an extreme way. I cannot believe for one second that he's selected Zac Efron as the star of his film. -- That's it.
The film is said to be a westernized reinvention of volumes 1-3 of Otomo's original 6 volume manga which inspired the 1989 anime. Covering volumes 1-3 in this first film, a prospective sequel (yeah, they're talking sequel already) will cover volumes 4-6. However, don't let the adherence to original source material fool you. While said character Kaneda's iconic red outfit and motrocycle will be prominent, the futuristic city of 2019's Neo Tokyo will be replaced by American city "New Manhattan" in a futuristic year still unspecified. Thus, fans who are ready to riot in the streets for the lack of an authentic Japanese cast will probably be readying their torches and pitchforks.
So, Efron's the first rumor, but who would you like to see star as the reckless cyberpunk rebel Kaneda? (Or, for that matter, ex-friend-turned enemy Tetsuo?)