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Ever since the Jaume Collet-Serra directed US adaptation of Akira began pre-production everyone was buzzing about if the crew would get around to casting someone Japanese...I think we may get an answer

Twitch broke word late in October that Gary Oldman had been offered the part of The Colonel in the film and now, with the actor and Warner Brothers unable to close the deal, we have learned that the part is being offered to Ken Watanabe instead.

That it's an obvious choice - all but two of Watanabe's American efforts having been Warner Brothers productions - makes it no less a good one. Watanabe is one of very few Japanese actors with any sort of American profile at all to keep the marketers happy and is also a very, very fine performer with the kind of gravity that the part requires.

As was the case with Oldman this is still just at the offer stage so nothing is definite but it's a good choice should it work out.