Twitch reports that Gary Oldman has turned down the role of the Colonel in Akira. Oldman had also been offered the Merlin role in Arthur And Lancelot. The studio has now offered the part to another Christopher Nolan regular Ken Watanabe (Inception, Batman Begins, Last Samurai). Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stweart have been linked for the leads.
What's interesting about this move by Warner Bros. is that Ken is the first Japanese actor to ever be linked the to the project. Akira has been getting a lot of hate from fans that the casting has been mostly whitewashing. This hopefully could be the first step to casting more Japanese actors in the film.