'Akira' Casting Choices: Edward Cullen or Spider-Man?

[caption id="attachment_28609" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Summit"]Robert Pattinson in Twilight[/caption]

Okay, so before we get to the news about just who is in line to play the lead roles in the upcoming adaptation of the manga and anime classic "Akira," let's have a brief refresher on just what "Akira" was about: set in the near future city of Neo Tokyo, "Akira" tells the story of a teenage biker named Kaneda who risks his life to save his best friend Tetsuo after Tetsuo begins manifesting mental powers and is captured by the government in an attempt to prevent World War IV.

And now, according to Deadline, here's the shortlist of actors in line to play Kaneda and Tetsuo: Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake, Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy. And, oh yeah, Kaneda and Tetsuo may now be brothers living in Manhattan.

Now that you've had a chance to look over that list of names, you're likely having one of two reactions: either you're totally jazzed at the prospect of seeing some of your favorite stars in a big budget sci-fi epic or you're a fan of either the original manga or anime series, in which case you likely just inflicted a major injury on yourself by smashing your head into your desk.

That's because both the original manga and the classic 1988 animated adaptation have a few, shall we say, minor differences: beyond the fact that Kaneda and Tetsuo aren't brothers and aren't in Manhattan, they are also high schoolers. Which normally would seem to rule out, say, Joaquin Phoenix.

Still, while the list may infuriate some, it does offer up some intriguing possibilities. With James McAvoy in the running for the role of Tetsuo and Michael Fassbender up for Kaneda, fans could be treated to an "X-Men: First Class" reunion, as the two stars also play opposite each other as mutant bromance victims Professor X and Magneto this summer. Likewise, the team of Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake would bring their "Social Network" chmistry to the table. And the idea of Robert Pattinson and Chris Pine together in full post-apocalyptic brooding angst mode? Winning.

It looks like we'll find out soon enough: with a script in place, the casting process is likely about to kick into full gear in anticipation of an August shoot. Whether or not the fan community will implode first like Akira himself is yet to be seen.