Zac Efron to star in live-action Akira?

Zac Efron to star in live-action Akira?

The rumour mill has coughed up an interesting tidbit this afternoon - High School Musical actor, and purported Manga fanboy Zac Efron is in talks to appear in the live-action version of Akira .

The film is being developed by Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way, and early rumours had DiCaprio himself attached to the lead role of Kaneda - but now it seems that Efron is being lined up to star.

Set in futuristic Neo Tokyo, the events of Akira take place after World War III has destroyed much of the old world. Kaneda is the leader of Neo-Tokyo motorcycle gang The Capsules, and the main character in both the comic and animated version of Akira .

When his best friend Tetsuo discovers he has immense psychic powers and threatens to destroy the city, Kaneda is the only one who can stop his former ally.

Slash Film are insisting that this is very much a rumour at this point, and can't confirm whether and actual offer has been made, but it is certainly enough of a development to attract interest.

A live-action Akira film has been touted since the 1988 anime popularised Japanese cyberpunk and Manga to US audiences, but has found itself stuck firmly in development hell.

Albert Hughes, one half of directing duo the Hughes Brothers (From Hell, The Book Of Eli), came on board back in February after Appian Way had secured the rights, and has been busy 'conceptualising' what will eventually be two movies.

That casting rumours are starting to surface means Akira could finally be emerging from hell and into the green light of day.

Efron has been keen to rebrand himself as a credible actor, something DiCaprio will no doubt sympathise with, and his career will certainly be given a major boost if he manges to secure the lead in Akira .