DreamWorks’ Ghost in the Shell live-action adaptation officially has my attention. There was talk of Margot Robbie taking the lead role in the film, but shortly after that, news broke that Scarlett Johansson scored the offer. I’ve got nothing against Robbie and think she’s great in The Wolf of Wall Street, but at this point, she just can’t compete with Johansson, especially when it comes to playing the leader of a covert ops unit that specializes in taking down cyber-terrorists.
You really don’t get better casting than that so it’s a thrill to report that Johansson has locked the lead role. Hit the jump for more.
As reported by Variety, Johansson was unsure of whether or not to take the part when she first received the offer, but now she’s set to play Major Motoko Kusanagi, a woman with a cyborg body who retains a human soul. The Ghost in the Shell adaptation was first announced about five years ago, but there wasn’t much movement on the project until Rupert Sanders (Snow White at the Huntsman) signed on to direct last year. Ghost in the Shell still doesn’t have a green light, but now that Johansson is on board, I’d like to bet that’ll change pretty fast.
As someone with no knowledge of the source material, when news first broke about the Ghost in the Shell movie, I didn’t care much for it, but then I read Dave’s “Hollywood! Adapt This” article. As Dave suggests, DreamWorks could go one of two ways with this – the full-blown sci-fi action route or a character-driven narrative that’s got sci-fi action components to it. I’d watch Johansson dive into serious combat any day, but based on Dave’s description of the material, it seems like the heart of Ghost in the Shell is Kusanagi’s struggle regarding her identity. Is she completely artificial or does she still have some of her humanity? Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of Under the Skin, but the way Johansson explores her character’s situation in that proves she can do a lot with Kusanagi’s condition.
Avi Arad and Steven Paul are producing Ghost in the Shell with Mark Saurian serving as executive producer. Apparently Paramount will decide whether or not to get involved as a co-producer and financier in the coming weeks.