….and at least one of the rumors might strike long-time Akira fans as bad news.

The big story currently making its rounds on the Internet is that High School Music-er Zac Efron is supposedly going to be cast as Shotaro Kaneda in the upcoming and highly-anticipated Hollywood adaptation of the legendary manga and anime film.

I’m not going to pretend that casting the cherubic Efron is a good idea, as it would be on-par in my mind with casting Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson as Kurt Cobain in a Nirvana movie (which was also a rumor a while back).

It also reminds me of Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai – he was hardly fit in my mind to play such a role, but Hollywood didn’t care.

The Hollywood suits who make these casting decisions should be aware that casting a teen heartthrob like Efron in a movie version of a long-standing classic manga series and anime film like Akira would anger the fanbase tremendously.

I’m not among the die-hard Akira fans, but I do know of its importance and popularity over the years.

In all likelihood, this new remake would transport the setting to a US location. The 1988 anime film version of Akira took place in Neo-Tokyo, a city built on an artificial island in Tokyo bay following the destruction of the original Tokyo in an explosion 30 years previously. Akira is the name of a young boy whose powers led to the disaster. Kaneda, the role apparently snapped up by Efron, is a biker and gang leader who discovers that his childhood friend Tetsuo is developing similar destructive powers.

I hope this casting idea is only a rumor, and not a reality.

In more acceptable news, there are also reports circulating that Morgan Freeman is in talks to play the Colonel in the movie. His character would be the head of a secret government project conducting tests on humans in a post-apocalyptic “New Manhattan.”, as this article describes.

Of course, everyone loves Morgan Freeman, the so-called “voice of God”, and he would bring some refined professionalism to a movie like Akira. And, he hasn’t been in any annoying teen musicals, either. So there’s that.

We’ll keep you posted regarding this Akira movie and if any more crazy rumors swirl about casting decisions and whatnot.

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