He's been in talks with Warner Bros. to play gang leader Kaneda in the post-apocalyptic classic.
The studio has wooed a wide variety of actors, including James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Robert Pattinson and Michael Fassbender, an Anglo-centric list that has prompted protests from some fans.
Concerns about casting an Asian or Asian-American lead to stay true to the project's Japanese roots and setting might be assuaged with Reeves on board; the Hawaiian-born actor is part Chinese. (The same reasoning that makes it OK -- or not, depending on your point of view -- for Johnny Depp, who's got some Cherokee blood, to play Tonto in the upcoming 'Lone Ranger' film.)
Reeves' involvement might even pave the way for more actors of Asian descent. Of course, finding Asian-American actors who are "names" in Hollywood is still rare. Most established Asian action stars -- Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat -- are far too old to be cast as teenage delinquents, but that's also true of Reeves, who is (believe it or not) 46.
Here's some obvious suggestions, Hollywood: 'Hawaii Five-O''s Daniel Dae Kim; 'Harold and Kumar''s John Cho; Rain of 'Ninja Assassin' and 'Speed Racer'; Jay Chou of 'The Green Hornet'; 'Heroes'' James Kyson-Lee; and 'Thor"s Tadanobu Asano.
Who would you cast in your dream live-action version of 'Akira'?
[via The Hollywood Reporter]