Amid the white-washing controversy surrounding the Ghost in the Shell movie, Rila Fukushima was a name on most of those listicals about Japanese actresses who could’ve starred instead of Scarlett Johansson. Now, the Wolverine star actually joins ScarJo in the adaptation of the beloved Manga.
THR was the first to report the news of her casting, though the trade doesn’t reveal which character she’s playing. Nevertheless, her action movie chops make her well equipped for anything that’s coming her way. Fukushima notably played the sword-wielding ninja Yukio opposite Hugh Jackman’s Logan in The Wolverine, in addition to DC character Katana on The CW’s Arrow.
Ghost in the Shell centers on Johansson’s Major, a cyborg who leads the elite task force Section 9 that works to stop the most dangerous criminals. The film is already in production with director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and The Huntsman) and a cast that includes Michael Pitt as villain The Laughing Man, Beat Takeshi Kitano as Daisuke Aramaki, Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet, Pilou Asbæk as Batou, Kaori Momoi, and members of Section 9 played by Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, and Tuwanda Manyimo.
The project has come under fire for placing Johansson, a caucasian actress as a character originally envisioned as Japanese. Adding more insult to injury, the cast roster surrounding Johansson, including Fukushima, is primarily Asian, which can be seen as stealing a culture and giving it to another. Though he didn’t support the move, screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle) said in a video response that this is how Hollywood works — casting high-profile stars in order to ease fears of poor international box-office sales.
Ghost in the Shell is scheduled for release on March 31, 2017. See the official plot synopsis below.
Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, “GHOST IN THE SHELL” follows the Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.