With the rumors of Zac Efron's involvement in a lead role for the upcoming live-action Akira film starting to look legit, it seems that the name of yet another has been added to the rumor mills. Investigating the legitimacy of the High School Musical star's viability for the lead role, BloodyDisgusting stumbled onto another casting scoop that even the Espers didn't see coming. He may not be an alumnus of Disney's teen talent farm, but before he played Batman's gadget guy Lucius Fox, Nelson Mandela, Frederick Douglas, and even God, he certainly helped bring an entire generation of kids "the power" with The Electric Company. Yes, the name of none other than Morgan Freeman has been attached to this westernized rendition of Katsuhiro Otomo's manga series and influential anime film. Freeman is expected to fill the role of The Colonel, the tough-as-nails soldier who finds himself on a wild goose chase, hunting for biker rebel Kaneda, ultimately becoming disillusioned with the government experiments on psychics, which may be liable to reap untold destruction.
Should this rumor pan-out, it would actually be a pretty good choice. Sure, the version of The Colonel everyone knows is some mohawk-sporting white dude with a Japanese name (Shikishima) who looks like a dead-ringer for UFC Legend Chuck Liddell. However, this is the role of a man caught directly in the middle of the storyline's two driving forces. A solid mainstay like Morgan Freeman could effectively convey this duality between his tenacious drive to find and hunt Kaneda, and his core motivation for what he believes is right. Also, if indeed this is a film in which Zac Efron receives top billing, it's going to need all the help it can in broadening its audience and maintaining an image of legitimacy. Freeman would undoubtedly bring all of that.
Director Albert Hughes, in collaboration with brother Allen, is currently developing Akira, which, despite adhering to the original manga's storyline, will take the setting from 2019's "Neo Tokyo" into a futuristic version of New York called "New Manhattan." (Needs more Snake Plissken.) Despite what will surely be severe backlash from the anime fan community, it will nevertheless be interesting to see how the Hughes Brothers' ugly, gritty stylistic direction will mesh with the iconic manga/anime story.
So, would the addition of Morgan Freeman change your perception of this production?
Source: Bloody Disgusting