The Ghost in the Shell franchise is bringing its first live action title to the series next year, and studio partners Paramount and Dreamworks have released the first official image of Scarlett Johansson in the central role of Major Motoko Kusanagi (although she may merely be playing a role based on that character, since Johansson is extremely not Japanese). Here she is:
What do you think? It certainly captures the feel of the anime.
Hollywood has been under fire lately for the “whitewashing” of major roles in films. Emma Stone was cast as a Hawaiian/Chinese woman in Aloha, and Rooney Mara was cast as Tiger Lily, a Native American, in Pan. And let us not forget Gods of Egypt. Additional trouble came to Ghost in the Shell when Screencrush revealed that the studios had hired the visual effects group Lola VFX (who won Academy Awards for their VFX work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) to slightly alter the looks of the cast to make them appear more Japanese. The idea was immediately shot down after seeing the results. Paramount Studios denies that the tests were on Johansson’s character, instead “related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded.”
Whitewashing and race-altering special effects aside, Scarlett Johansson has been on an action movie roll lately. She portrays Natasha Romanov/Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and also starred as the hyper-evolved, titular Lucy in 2014. Lucy brought in over $450 million worldwide, and the MCU movies are making significantly more. Johansson is obviously one of the biggest action stars working right now, but will that be enough to overcome the negative press that has been hitting Ghost in the Shell? It is scheduled to release March 31, 2017.
What are your thoughts on Scarlett Johansson as the Ghost in the Shell lead? Is she right for the job regardless of her race? Let us know!