Interesting that this happens after the CHRONICLE trailer debuts; I got a real AKIRA vibe from some of the scenes in that trailer. Now Warner Brothers, according to Variety, has decided to go ahead with the $90 million production, with possibly Garrett Hedlund as the frontrunner for Kaneda. Jaume Collet-Serra (UNKNOWN, ORPHAN) will direct.
I still don't think $90 million is enough for any live-action adaptation of this story - has Warner Brothers even seen the last 45 minutes of the animated film? It outdoes Michael Bay in scale, and the film was made almost 25 years ago - and it's possible the budget has increased since the last reports. Garrett Hedlund as Kaneda definitely seems like they're casting older than the original film's characters. I'm certain those names will be changed too. I can't imagine Kaneda and Tetsuo will work if the film goes to a Western setting.
If I'm sounding pessimistic, I'm trying not to be. It's very possible that with today's advances in special effects that WB can bring this in with a reduced budget, and that Collet-Serra can make a compelling film with the material. I'm very curious to see who they cast as Tetsuo, or the Colonel. Filming will start Spring, 2012.