Toby Kebbell discusses his issues with the live action Akira adaptation

British actor Toby Kebbell was up for a key role in the live action Akira adaptation. So why did he turn it down?


The long rumoured live action adaptation of Akira looked closer to heading into production for a while when Jaume Collet-Sera was hired by Warner Brothers to direct the movie. However, Collett-Sera has been ordered by the studio to do some further work on the script before they’ll allow him to shoot the film.

The film hasn’t been short of controversies, particularly given the change from an eastern setting to a western one. It’s been criticised for being another example of race bending in Hollywood productions, as also seen in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Another voice of dissent has emerged though, this time in the form of Toby Kebbell, who read the script when he was under consideration for a leading role in the adaptation.

Here’s what he had to say: “They were like, ‘This is going to be a big franchise!’ 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?’” “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.”

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“The other thing they wanted to do was make Tetsuo and Kaneda brothers. I was like, ‘The point is that Tetsuo can’t comprehend how someone who isn’t his brother could love him so much — and that’s where his wrath and his rage come from. Do you not see that? Why have you made them brothers? What the fuck are you doing?”

Strong words indeed, but refreshingly honest stuff from the actor who’s clearly a huge fan of the material. It would appear that fans of Akira have had many of their fears confirmed. We’ll see if any subsequent drafts of the script will address the points of contention.Total Film

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