There’s been a lot of controversy over the casting of Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell — not because of her acting ability, but because it’s another example of Hollywood taking an Asian role and giving it to a Caucasian actor, while at the same time tapping into the culture for its supporting characters and setting. In a new featurette for the film, dropping ahead of the trailer debut this weekend, Mamoru Oshii, who helmed the animated Ghost in the Shell films, seems to offer his blessing to the live-action film and Johansson.
“Scarlett Johansson, playing Motoko from beginning to end, has gone above and beyond my expectations for the role,” he says. “I’m sure this will be the most gorgeous film in the series so far.” Director Rupert Sanders, who’s directing the live-action film, explains in the video that Oshii came to visit the set to see this sci-fi world brought to life, while executive producer Michael Costigan claims the film is “very true to the anime.”
Watch the featurette below:
During an interview with BuzzFeed, producer Steven Paul said, in part, regarding the casting controversy:
I don’t think it was just a Japanese story. Ghost in the Shell was a very international story, and it wasn’t just focused on Japanese; it was supposed to be an entire world. That’s why I say the international approach is, I think, the right approach to it.
Producer Avi Arad told us on the set of the film, “We’re not doing Puppetmaster. It’s not Laughing Man. It involves Kuze,” with inspiration from “that episode of ‘Affection’ in 2nd Gig. It’s bits and pieces of those mixed together.” The cast also features Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Kaori Momoi, Rila Fukushima, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, and Tuwanda Manyimo.
The first Ghost in the Shell trailer will arrive this coming Sunday, November 13th, ahead of the film’s release on March 31, 2017. Here’s the official synopsis:
Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, “GHOST IN THE SHELL” follows 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.