Given that our world is getting smaller as global communication gets stronger, I'm surprised studios are still doing this Disneyfication - moving entire story mileaus to completely different continents. Part of what made stories like Akira so great to American movie watchers was the fact that it is set somewhere else like Japan.
Its sense of Japanese otherness, coupled with its corporate, future dystopian setting made this movie mysterious and engaging to me as a 12 year old. Fans of Akira didn't watch Akira for the riveting character development, so having actors people recognize is pointless and a waste of a movie budget. I guarantee if they got some English-speaking Japanese actors, set the movie in Japan, and gave it the same marketing budget as the crappy, Americanized one, they'd make more money than the Americanized one just from international sales.
This movie will be yet another disaster in the long list of mileau-shifting crap that Hollywood continues to spew from its retreaded bowels.