One of the big questions I had when I got to visit the set of director Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell while it was filming in New Zealand earlier this year was whether or not the movie would be an original story or if it would borrow anything from the previously released animated movies or the manga series. Since the previously released stuff was filled with great storylines, I assumed they would use at least some of it. I was right.
However, I need to take a step back. For those not familiar with Ghost in the Shell, it explores what it means to be human. When you can copy your consciousness to another body, when do you stop being human? Is it your body or mind or both that makes you who you are? In addition, in the world of Ghost in the Shell, hackers can plant memories in your head and the recipient can’t tell what’s real or fake. The world of Ghost in the Shell tries to deal with real issues in a technologically advanced world.
In the film, we’ll follow Scarlett Johansson as 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 advancements in cyber technology. Loaded with an all-star international cast featuring Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Kaori Momoi, Rila Fukushima, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, and Tuwanda Manyimo, the film should be something extremely cool when it opens in theaters March 31, 2017.
Regarding what storylines the live-action movie might use, during a group interview conducted on set, producer Avi Arad told us
“We’re not doing Puppetmaster. It’s not Laughing Man. It involves Kuze. The Kuze story. The big thing we are doing here is that we’re not necessarily doing an origins backstory, but we are addressing her sense of self and resolving how she defines herself in terms of memories. That’s one of the main thrusts in the story. Inspired by that episode of Affection in Second Gig. It’s bits and pieces of those mixed together.”
He went on to explain why:
“There are outside villains but they are never the most interesting parts of a movie, especially your first movie. I find that part of the reason we didn’t do Puppetmaster in this movie was we didn’t really feel like we had time to tell that story, and in your first movie the way the characters feel about themselves and the relationship with those people that they care about is usually more than enough story for a movie to handle. So there are villains and they do drive a lot of the story, but they are really there to antagonize her spiritually.
The villains in the story are people that are abusing this brave new world. The movie certainly addresses this whole idea of in the future, if you think about everybody’s biggest fear around technology is about getting your identity stolen (which is really just your credit record) as apposed someone hacking your brain could happen here. The more technology gets inside of you and the more it’s woven into your life the more that people can abuse it. So there are characters, both at a criminal level and a governmental level, who are abusing technology and doing scary things.
Ghost hacking is a big storyline in the movie and in some ways we take it even further. This idea of if someone could change your memories, what would that do to your sense of self? After you meet that garbageman and you see him in the interrogation room. You’re like ‘that guy’s gone’. You could have a really interesting movie about that guy trying to put his life back together. Being told you don’t have a wife and kids that you thought you did is a big hole.”