BREAKING: My heart just sank deep, deep into the depths of hell as I just learned that Zac Efron was just offered the LEAD role in Allen and Albert Hughes’ Akira adaptation. “Akira” originated in 1988 as a manga and then as an animated film co-written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. The story was set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war “New Tokyo” in 2019 where a teen biker gang member is subjected to a government experiment which unleashes his latent powers. The gang’s leader must find a way to stop the ensuing swathe of destruction. Now, there are two lead roles in the original Manga/animated feature: Shotaro Kaneda (the gang leader) and Tetsuo Shima, the black sheep of the gang who gets caught up in the government experiment (obviously to be renamed in the American New York version). Efron would play the role of the biker “Kaneda Shim”. My immediate thoughts were that this casting will either ruin the movie — or maybe this could be the role that breaks Efron out of the teen-heartthrob subculture and into the mainstream.