Akira appears to be narrowing its search for a lead, and it looks like that role might skew a little older than originally thought, with Keanu Reeves in discussions to star as Kaneda, the gang leader. He is in talks with Warner Bros. after the studio had contemplated youngsters such as James Franco, (shudder) Robert Pattinson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Michael Fassbender.

While the talks aren't far along, Reeves has demonstrated he can carry a big-budget franchise with The Matrix trilogy, so his involvement could give the film weight enough to find another A-lister for the role of Tetsuo, Kaneda's best friend. Keanu is now wrapping up the samurai film 47 Ronin, so perhaps the studio wanted to catch him while he was still in a Japanese state of mind. Because once those sword skills fade, they're gone for good. (THR)