It's been a pretty darn good year for the stars of last summer's surprise blockbuster "Inception."
Tom Hardy, for instance, headlined "Warrior" and got his groove on as Bane in the upcoming mega-event "The Dark Knight Rises," while Leonardo DiCaprio went the award-bait route with the Clint Eastwood collaboration "J. Edgar" and Joseph Gordon-Levitt starred in the well-received dramedy "50/50." But all of that pales in comparison with what Ken Watanabe has on his plate:
Saving Tokyo from brain-exploding mutants.
Makes your holiday plans look pretty boring by comparison, huh?
To be clear, we're not talking about the actual, real world Tokyo — it's still safe to take that otaku pilgrimage you've been planning — but rather the fictional future world of "Akira"'s Neo-Tokyo. And the good news about Watanabe's involvement in the upcoming live adaptation of the classic anime masterpiece comes with a side of sadness as well, because according to Twitch, he's been offered the role of The Colonel, which previously was supposed to go to the always awesome Gary Oldman.
Warner Bros. and director Jaume Collet-Serra, however, were apparently unable to reach a deal with the "Dark Knight" and "Harry Potter" player, so instead they've turned to Watanabe, who not only is a fine actor with rugged gravitas but who also happens to have the added bonus of actually being Japanese.
That would mark a milestone for the production of "Akira," because while Watanabe hasn't actually been signed just yet for the role of the government official in charge of the mysterious psychics who threaten civilization, if he does come on board it would make him the first actual Japanese person in the film. Not to say that we aren't stoked at the possibility of having Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart in the film, but since "Akira" is a milestone of Japanese culture, it might be nice to throw them a bone, y'know?
Either way, we should know soon enough; "Akira" is currently scheduled to begin shooting early next year with an expected release date some time in 2013. Assuming the brain-exploding mutants don't get us all first.