If the Akira Movie Goes Exclusively White, Will You Boycott It?

Or if not exclusively, then primarily with a main white cast?

The folks at Racebending.com are taking a stand against Warner Bros.’ upcoming “Akira”, their live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga/anime of the same name. Of particularly annoyance is the recent casting search for the film’s two male leads, Kaneda and Tetsuo (I’m personally expecting those names to change by the time the film starts production), all the candidates for which are Caucasian with nary an Asian face among them.

Here’s an excerpt from their letter to Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov (you can read the full letter here):

The Asian American community was excited to see Warner Bros. pursue three projects based on Japanese properties: Akira, All You Need is Kill, and Death Note. Our organizations are writing to request that Warner Bros give Asian American actors fair and equal consideration for first-billed roles in these three films.

In the United States, Asian Americans represent over 15 million media consumers and counting. Our spending power will grow to more than $700 billion by the time AKIRA is released in 2013. Despite this, our community remains an untapped market. From the silent picture era and even to this day, we continue to face a glass ceiling when it comes to accessing first-billed roles in Hollywood.

The group is seeking a meeting with Robinov, or at least someone over at Warner Bros. to voice their concerns. It’s probably all for naught, though, because “Akira” is just not that well known to most Americans that I don’t see the threat of a boycott getting much press, which is what you’d need to get any type of concessions at all from Warner Bros.

But the question remains: if “Akira” remains essentially “Akira”, with the same character names and trappings, but played by white guys, will you boycott it?

Maybe Warner Bros. can ask this guy to audition:



About Nix

View all Posts

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.

Cool Stories From Zergnet

  • Aya

    Hell yeah. Still never saw Dragon Ball. (Heard it sucked anyway). No more whitewashing!!

  • http://cinesnatch.blogspot.com/ Da Vinci Smetana

    I’ll wait for the trailer. Right now, I’m thinking this can’t be pulled off. But, you never know …

  • http://profiles.google.com/christopher.draper.1979 Christopher Draper

    I think the current value of this movie lies in the name Akira.
    If they’re planning to use caucasian actors and a different setting they should probably change the name of the movie and push the marketing using the leads actors.
    The same strategy they used for Infernal Affairs, in the end, it was all about a Scorcese movie starring Leo and Damon, not about one of the best HK films ever made.

  • Adonisrage

    How many white people are named Akira?

  • Robdealer

    Just a thought, but I thought Rain from “Ninja Assasin” was freaking cool and could be styled to portray a bada$$ Kaneda!

  • JackCrow

    Asian cast, can bring on the table, that which caucasian cannot.

  • Ulik

    I agree with Dedpool & imrickjamesbitch, If this is being geared toward a “western” or American audience, then it’s understandable why they would want to place an A-lister in the lead and unfortunately there aren’t enough notable Asian American A-listers out there but this would create the perfect opportunity to start CREATING NOTABLE ASIAN A-LISTERS. Just mix the cast and let the original character who was “Akira” be actually Japanese. Hollywood has a theory that “if there is more than two minority actors in one movie or show, then it IS minority based or for THAT demographic or Asian genre”. I’m sure there are plenty of Asian American actors out there that are looking for that big break but Hollywood just won’t give them a chance because of “casting ideas” and what they “believe” is marketable. Asians(ex.Japanese or Chinese) don’t have to always be associated with Martial Arts or “Asian” cinema there are millions of “Asian Americans” in the U.S. Hollywood needs to be more open minded and stop thinking they need to white wash everything in order for it to sell. As long as the story and production are great and marketed well, then it should do well.