Toby Kebbell, star of the upcoming Wrath of the Titans, is currently doing the press circuit for that movie, but it seems he can’t escape the shadow of one of the most on again/off again movies never filmed: The Akira remake, in which Kebbell was in the running to play Tetsuo alongside Garrett Hedlund as Kaneda
In an interview with IFC he spoke very candidly and honestly about the remake, why it wouldn’t have worked, how his own fandom had serious issues with the direction it was taking and why he might now never get the chance to play Tetsuo. We respect him for this and for the fact that, while it’s all too easy to say ‘I’m a fan’, he really does seem to be the real deal.
Here’s the highlights:
“Yes, that was genuine… They were like, ‘This is going to be a big franchise!. So I said, ‘Then in that case, understand that I’ve read the comics, and I’ve read the comics that got turned into the annuals, and then the annuals that got turned into the one-off anime. So if you really want to do it, then why don’t you look at the six comics and just put two into each film?’
“That way my character, Tetsuo, is not the lead. He’s not the second lead, and he’s not the third or the fourth lead, because there are eight major characters there. You’ve got great young actors, and you could get them in there. That’s the way to do it if you want to do sequels. They were like, ‘Welllll…’. So I told them, ‘Then this is a remake [of the animated movie], and I don’t want to do a live-action remake of the cartoon, because [the cartoon] is perfect and you’re not going to do it dark enough — so therefore, I don’t want to do it.
“I was desperate to play Tetsuo, but Tetsuo in the comic and annual form… The other thing they wanted to do was make [Tetsuo and Kaneda] brothers. I was like, ‘The point is that Tetsuo can’t comprehend how someone who isn’t his brother could love him so much — and that’s where his wrath and his rage come from. Do you not see that? Why have you made them brothers? What the fuck are you doing?’”
“I was desperate to do it, but I just hoped they were going to take the six annuals and adapt them. Having said that, they’ll probably read this and go, ‘We’re never working with him again.’ But I wish they would. Sometimes it’s a shame that money rules, because there are great stories to be told out there.”
Fair play Toby, if the remake ever does go ahead we hope you remain involved. Preferably heavily.