Would-Be Akira Actor Kebbell Expresses His Misgivings

posted on 2012-03-26 21:45 EDT by Ko Ransom
Toby Kebbell speaks about frustrations with adaptation, love of original manga

In a recent interview with IFC Fix, actor Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla, War Horse, The Conspirator's John Wilkes Booth) not only confirmed the report that he was named as a candidate to play Tetsuo in the currently halted live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira manga, but also gave his thoughts on the series, explaining how he disagreed with creative choices made with regards to the adaptation process.

In the interview, Kebbell states that when he was approached with the role, he mentioned that he had read the entire manga in the past, and suggested that the manga's six volumes be adapted into as many as three films, so that "my [Kebbell's] character, Tetsuo, is not the lead [...] He's not the second lead, and he's not the third or the fourth lead, because there are eight major characters there. You've got great young actors, and you could get them in there. That's the way to do it if you want to do sequels."

He also noted that the studio's reaction to his suggestion was not particularly positive, which caused him to reply that if their plans were to create a live-action remake of the anime, he was not interested, because "[the anime adaptation] is perfect and you're not going to do it dark enough — so therefore, I don't want to do it."

Kebbell also expressed his anger at some of the other creative choices that were to be made in the adaptation, such as the decision to make two of the lead characters of the film, Tetsuo and Kanada, into brothers. He said that his reaction to hearing this was to tell the producers, "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 [f--k] are you doing?"

Though the live-action Akira project has now stalled, Kebbell says in the interview that he hopes that if it does get made, they will adapt the full manga, though he also says that he does not expect the film's producers to be interested in working with him again.

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