Keanu Reeves is said to be the front runner to play Kaneda in Warner Bros. live-action adaptation of Akira.

Back in March, we reported that a number of actors such as Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix were being considered to play Kaneda, although it seems the studio is now looking at the 47-year-old Keanu Reeves. The studio has also had trouble casting Kaneda's best friend, Tetsuo, although our report from March indicated that Robert Pattinson, and Andrew Garfield were in contention to play Tetsuo.

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Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes will direct Akira from a screenplay by Steve Kloves. Albert Torres wrote the original draft of the script. The story centers on Kaneda, the leader of a biker gang in a stylized version of Manhattan, who tries to save his best friend Tetsuo from a medical experiment.

A similar report indicated that both Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling passed on the Kaneda role, and that the budget has grown to a whopping $230 million. Warner Bros. is seeking a bankable lead with worldwide recognition, and they are also looking for another studio to possibly co-finance the project.

It isn't known when production will start on Akira.