Morgan Freeman Circling Live-Action 'Akira' Adaptation?

Morgan Freeman"High School Musical" and "Charlie St. Cloud" star Zac Efron isn't the only actor rumored for the forthcoming adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's "Akira" anime and manga series, but the latest name in the mix is undoubtedly less polarizing than Efron's.

Bloody Disgusting reports that "The Dark Knight" and "Red" actor Morgan Freeman is circling a role in "Akira," directed by Albert Hughes of "The Book of Eli" fame. According to the report, Freeman would play the role of Colonel Shikishima, the head of a secret government project that's conducting research on psychically gifted youngsters, including the troubled Tetsuo.

Although he first appears in the story in an antagonistic fashion, the Colonel eventually reveals himself as a man of character, willing to put himself through great risk in order to ensure the continued safety of Neo Tokyo.

Freeman is just the latest actor rumored for "Akira," following last week's news that Efron might headline the cast as Shotaro Kaneda, the leader of a gang of motorcyclists known as The Capsules. Kaneda's close friendship with the telepathically powered Tetsuo is put through the wringer over the course of "Akira," as the gang leader is forced to challenge his lifelong friend once he succumbs to the destructive nature of his powers. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been rumored for the role of Tetsuo in the past.

Leonardo DiCaprio is producing "Akira" through his Appian Way production house, though he's not planning on starring in the film.

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