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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

It’s amazing how quickly the industry has been changing. Just a couple of years back, Scarlett Johansson took on the role of Major in the Hollywood adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, and it was a move that received all sorts of backlash. Around that same time, we got Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange, and before that…countless other instances of non-representation for non-white stars.

Asian-Americans are a race that is least represented on the big screen, and in many instances where an Asian actor is possible, more often than not, Hollywood went with a white actor. It’s made many of us wonder if a race-appropriate version of an anime adaptation possible. Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi, however, in the past, made statements stating that if given the opportunity to direct an Akira film, that he would go race appropriate.

Fast-forward to now, and it looks like he’s making good on that promise. A new casting call has made the way to Backstage.com, and in it, we have the sides for a whole batch of roles for an “untitled Warner Bros. live-action film.” Joke’s on them. It’s clearly for Akira.

RELATED – Taika Waititi’s Akira Set To Hit Theaters Summer 2021

Here’s what we have for the three leads.

Jun (Lead): Male, 18-24

Male, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-20’s to play 18: Sharp-eyed, sinewy, tough, handsome, cool. He is the leader of a street gang of teenagers & knows how to have a good time. JUN should not be too cool or too tough. He’s a scrappy, ragtag kid who’s not worried about anything. Your weird, natural authentic self is encouraged! LEAD.

NOTE: If you’ve already submitted to another casting director for this, no need to re-submit. Thanks again!

Ethnicity: Asian

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

KOICHI (Lead): Male, 18-24

Male, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-20’s to play 17: Constantly forced to punch up in order to survive. He’s fearless to the point of recklessness. He is haunted by the loss of a loved one. LEAD.

NOTE: If you’ve already submitted to another casting director for this, no need to re-submit. Thanks again!

Ethnicity: Asian

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

MISA (Lead): Female, 18-30

Female, to play Japanese, English speaking. Must be legal 18-30: Beautiful, intelligent, strong-willed. She is a member of an anti-government organization trying to save her city. LEAD.

NOTE: If you’ve already submitted to another casting director for this, no need to re-submit. Thanks again!

Ethnicity: Asian

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

REINA (Supporting): Female, 18-24

Female, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 17: Gentle, kind, cute, compassionate. She is a member of a biker gang & cares deeply for Koichi. SUPPORTING LEAD.

NOTE: If you’ve already submitted to another casting director for this, no need to re-submit. Thanks again!

Ethnicity: Asian

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

TAKAMATSU (Supporting): Male, 18-24

Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 18: Large, tough, loyal, short-fused. A member of Jun’s gang & a close friend. SUPPORTING LEAD.

NOTE: If you’ve already submitted to another casting director for this, no need to re-submit. Thanks again!

Ethnicity: Asian

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

YUKI (Supporting): Male, 18-24

Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus). Must be legal 18-20’s to play 16: A small, clever, brainy technical wiz, he is the youngest member of Jun’s street gang. SUPPORTING LEAD.

NOTE: If you’ve already submitted to another casting director for this, no need to re-submit. Thanks again!

Ethnicity: Asian

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

GEN (Supporting): Male, 10-12

Male, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus), age 10: A small, mysterious boy on an urgent mission; he is humble, shy, compassionate & wise beyond his years. SUPPORTING LEAD.

Please submit current, accurate photo. Also, please include current age of your child/client. Thanks!

NOTE: If you’ve already submitted to another casting director for this, no need to re-submit. Thanks again!

Ethnicity: Asian

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

AIMI (Supporting): Female, 10-12

Female, to play Asian, English speaking (Japanese a plus), age 10: A mysterious girl on an urgent mission; she is kind, gentle, compassionate & wise beyond her years. SUPPORTING LEAD.

Please submit current, accurate photo. Also, please include current age of your child/client. Thanks!

NOTE: If you’ve already submitted to another casting director for this, no need to re-submit. Thanks again!

Ethnicity: Asian

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

If you’re a fan of the anime and manga, a lot of those roles sure found familiar. Jun and Koichi sound an awful lot like Kaneda and Tetsuo, respectively, and Misa and Reina sound like dead ringers for Kei and Kaori.

The rest, of course, have parallels to other characters from the source material, so it’s clear that this is for Akira. In a world where no manga has had race-appropriate casting, this is a breath of fresh air. 

What do you think of these sides? Do they bode well for an accurate adaptation of the source material? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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SOURCE: Backstage.com

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.