I hope that I’m not alone in feeling fatigued with the almost daily casting rumors that set James Franco to play everything and everyone from Oz, The Great and Powerful to pornographer Chuck Traynor. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy. He’s funny, he’s cool and he’s got genuine chops. But he’s just not right for every role.
That’s what makes the latest rumor, which just hit the web courtesy of ScreenCrave, even more nauseating. According to the source, Franco may be next in line to take the lead in Warner Bros. always-developing, never-shooting adaptation of the epic anime Akira. Zac Efron was attached to the project last we heard, but now it seems that Franco has pushed him off the line. What a surprise.
If you’re not a nerd, you probably don’t know what Akira is. You fail. The story’s themes are all-encompassing and quite cerebral, but to break it down as best as I can, I’ll say that it is a story set in a dystopian Tokyo and centers on a member of a biker gang who turns into a raging psionic psychopath that only two kids and a group of fellow psionics can stop. The destruction caused is devastating as are its implications about government and humanity. In short, it’s science fiction at its best.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way is producing the feature, which is said to be directed by The Book of Eli’s Hughes Brothers. DiCaprio was once set to star in the role that Franco may be getting (that of Kaneda), the gang leader who is friend to Tetsuo, the dangerous psionic. Lucky Leo would be a better fit for the part, but at almost 40 years old now (Titanic was a looooong time ago) he’s too old to portray a teen biker. Efron is actually closest in age and look of Kaneda, but Franco obviously has more street cred. And balls. However, I’m at the point of Franco oversaturation. He seems to be rumored for nearly every big role up for grabs these days and that just seems a bit unfair. I say give Joseph Gordon Levitt a shot. Give Emile Hirsch a shot. Give SOMEBODY ELSE a shot before Franco dies of exhaustion.