'Unknown' Helmer Appointed To 'Akira' Director's Chair

Although the big screen version of Katsuhiro Otomo's celebrated manga (and subsequent animated adaptation) "Akira" hit a road block recently with the departure of "Book of Eli" director Albert Hughes back in May, Warner Brothers has officially found a new man to helm the pic, "Unknown" director Jaume Collet-Serra.

According to Variety, the Spanish director, who also brought us "Orphan," will take over the live-action project with a lower revised budget of $90 million.

Now that we have a director, again, it's time to focus on casting the key lead roles of Kaneda and Tetsuo. At last count there were a slew of name actors said to be on "short lists" for the roles.

For the role of Kaneda, leader of motorcycle gang The Capsules, Keanu Reeves was the latest name to be added to a list that includes actors Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix.

For Kaneda’s troubled best friend Tetsuo, whose untapped psychic power provides the story’s central conflict, the studio reportedly wants Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield or James McAvoy.

Pattinson told MTV News recently that he is definitely game for the role.

"I love the movie," he said. "But, I mean, I don’t know. I’ve seen the same thing as anybody else has, really."

Pattinson went on to say that he hasn't been involved with any forward movement on an "Akira" film just yet, although he does like its style.

The film’s script has received positive feedback since "Harry Potter" writer Steve Kloves took a pass for polishing back in November.

What do you think of Collet-Serra in the director's chair? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!