Keanu Reeves has pulled out of appearing in a live-action remake of Japanese manga 'Akira'.

The 'Matrix' actor was expected to play leading character Kaneda in the film, but has now walked away from negotiations - although pre-production will not be halted.

A statement from Warner Bros. read: "Production on 'Akira' has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been green-lit and is still very much in the development stage.

"The exploratory process is crucial to a project of this magnitude, and we will continue to sculpt our approach to making the best possible film."

Albert Hughs is still attached to direct the project, which has been written by Steve Kloves, and tells the tale of a futuristic city in a world after World War III.

No names have yet been decided on as a replacement for the leading role.

Keanu recently confirmed talks were ongoing for a third 'Bill and Ted' movie.

He said: "When we last got together, part of it was that Bill and Ted were supposed to have written the song that saved the world, and it hasn't happened.

"I know a little bit, but I don't know - the fellas went off and cooked it up. I don't know what happened when they put the elements together."