Tag Archives: keanu-reeves

In Or Out: On Keanu, Akira, and expectations for multiracial actors

By Guest Contributor Monique Jones, cross-posted from moniqueblog

If you’ve been following the news surrounding Akira, you might have heard that Keanu Reeves was circling the film and probably would have been cast in the role of Kaneda. But Reeves has dropped out of the film. Also, according to CinemaBlend, a big chunk of the staff on the movie have been let go and the previsualization department has been shut down. However, WB says the movie is still in development in the following statement:

Production on Akira has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been greenlit and is still very much in the development stage. The exploratory process is crucial to a project of this magnitude, and we will continue to sculpt our approach to making the best possible film.

Reeves, whose background includes Hawaiian and Chinese heritages, may have been considered by the studio execs and/or the casting agent over “Akira” to be a good pick for the film because of this. Racebending.com seems to think so. However, Racebending explains their hesitance to see Reeves cast as Kaneda:

We can sort of see why Warner Bros. would want to go with one of their previously established stars–Reeves is arguably Warner Bros. biggest actor of Asian descent (granted, only 2% of WB films from 2000 to 2009 had an Asian lead, and they were mostly Asian nationals like Jet Li and Rain.)

At the same time, it’s unsatisfactory to see Reeves (who has played white characters, multiethnic characters, and even Siddhartha) default to Hollywood’s only go-to actor when they need to find someone to portray an Asian lead character. Hollywood isn’t exactly hard at work to discover this generation’s next hot “Keanu.”

For Asian American actors who aren’t Keanu Reeves, opportunities to play lead characters continue to be few and far between. Will Warner Bros. exceed expectations and cast an Asian American actor alongside Reeves to play Tetsuo? Can a $230 million Akira project that barely resembles the source material make enough to make a profit?

Now, I understand what Racebending is saying here. They would like to see Asian/Asian-American actors who aren’t the typical Hollywood type cast in the film adaptation of one of the biggest Asian art exports ever. They are also slightly annoyed at Reeves being constantly picked for these types of roles instead of Hollywood execs trying to find someone new. To be clear, I’m not knocking what Racebending’s opinion on the matter is; they are, after all, an Asian-American group and I’m African-American, a person on the fringes. And their opinion is partly the impetus behind my epic Akira Asian shortlist posts, because it does get tiring to see the same people get cast over and over again. But something that I noticed in the comments section of various movie websites paints a different picture about Keanu-gate. Yes, the commenters are just as annoyed as Racebending, but there’s a large number of people who think Reeves is white and white only, thereby not suitable for the role.

This wave of dissention from commenters raises the issue about the murky state of biracial or multi-racial actors and actresses in Hollywood. Some are thought of as a representation of one race while others are viewed almost like an “all-purpose” type person; both ideologies have a bit of error in them. The statement also raises an even bigger question–what is Hollywood’s role in our race perceptions?

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Alternate History: How Keanu Reeves Might Have Saved Akira – And Himself [Humor]

By Arturo R. García

By now, the Akira live-action adaptation is threatening to turn into the Spider-Man musical of ill-advised Americanizations. Not only has Legendary Pictures, which was supposed to co-finance the two-film project with Warner Brothers, reportedly ended its’ involvement, but WB President Jeff Rubinov, either too desperate or too myopic to care about fans’ casting concerns, allegedly personally offered the lead role of Kaneda to 46-year-old Keanu Reeves.

This isn’t the first time Reeves has been connected to a movie based on an iconic Japanese story; for a couple of years, he was reportedly up for the part of Spike Spiegel in a Cowboy Bebop adaptation. But what would have happened if somebody – somebody with access to, let’s say, a certain time-traveling phone-booth – had enabled Reeves to play Kaneda, the teen anti-hero, when he truly looked the part? How would the news clippings from those pre-Internet days have read? As the great Vin Scully likes to say, the saddest words of tongue and pen are these:
What might have been …

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New Keanu movie: Asians are “zipperhead dog-munching dinks”

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Pure adrenalin, right?! The ultimate rush. Other guys snort for it, jab a vein for it -- all you gotta do is jump.Can you believe that my last gratuitous Keanu Reeves post was back in December? I figure it’s long overdue for a new one, and this item caught my eye / horrified me on Angry Asian Man. (I’m slooooowly catching up on my blogs – am still in the home stretch of finals.)

One of AAM’s readers, who’s a working actress, wrote in with this:

So I just got called in to audition for this new indie movie with Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker and Chris Evans called Kings X (a.k.a. The Nightwatch).

I’m actually going to call the casting director tomorrow and cancel my audition after reviewing the sides. So I can’t give you the entire plot of the film but after reading my sides and a couple of other sides, I know that a part of it does take place in Koreatown, with lo and behold korean sex slaves and korean guys as the baddies.

There’s also a part of dialogue where Reeves’ character greets the korean guys with ‘konichiwa.’ The Korean guys in turn tell him that phrase is Japanese and insulting to Koreans but Reeves says that he can’t tell the difference. Then Reeves’ character responds “It means you got eyes like apostrophes, dress white, talk black and drive Jew. So how’m I supposed to know what kind of zipperhead-dog-munching dinks you are if you don’t.”

Sounds Oscar-worthy doesn’t it? Well, you can check out the rest of the sides on Showfax. It’s pretty discouraging to be an asian actress these days…

Dude. I know homeboy identifies primarily as white (which is totally cool with me – I’m all about the right to self-identify however you choose), but does he need to go out of his way to shit on Asians? I know, I know, he’s acting. But damn…

First the puke photo (errr thanks Dumi). Now this. He’s really trying to destroy my love for him. :(

And as we discussed back in October in the thread about The Departed, isn’t racism — like smoking — a really lazy way to handle character development?

Keanu sings happy birthday, but not to me

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

keanu reevesThat title sounds like a Gershwin song, huh?

Okay, I’ve lived in New York City for over 11 years now and am just as jaded and indifferent to celebrity spotting as the next person.

I walked past Oprah on the street just last week. I once had separate sightings of Dave Chappelle (pre-Chappelle Show days), Q-Tip, and Posdnuos from De La Soul on the same block within 10 minutes of each other. For some odd reason I’ve run into Tom Arnold, Carrie Fisher and Malcolm Gladwell multiple times each.

So why can’t sh*% like this happen to me for a change??? From Gawker Stalker:

Saw Keanu Reeves at The Pinnacle Deli, alone and incognito, then chatting up (in a very friendly manner) a gorgeous titian-haired petite thing who was celebrating her 20th birthday with friends – she approached him shyly and he came to their table and sang Happy Birthday to her and gave her a kiss, then sat down with them. He looks very young and stunning, if somewhat rugged, in person.

He sang to her? Ugh!!!!!

(And by the way yes, Keanu posts now have their own official logo. :) Props to Corbin for coming up with the tagline!)