Hollywood looks to finally give Ghost in the Shell, a Japanese anime often cited as one of the best of the genre, the live-action treatment. According to Variety, Scarlett Johansson will play the film’s lead should it be greenlit by Dreamworks Studios. Margot Robbie was originally in the running for the role, but she is now committed to DC’s adaptation of Suicide Squad.
Ghost in the Shell was originally a Japanese manga before it was turned into the hit 1995 anime film. It was one of the many inspirations for The Matrix, and should pack a similar philosophical punch and plenty of action like the American classic.
While it is great that a live adaptation of the anime could finally happen, the casting is questionable. The star of the anime is named Motoko and is Japanese, so it is baffling that a white actress like Johansson could be chosen for the lead. After the recent backlash over Exodus, you would think that Hollywood’s days of whitewashing are over. But it seems like money still comes before political correctness, and with The Hollywood Reporter saying Johansson is being offered $10 million for the role, it would be silly of her to turn it down.
Johansson should be given the benefit of the doubt, but it is troubling that Dreamworks did not cast a Japanese actress for the lead. Or at least somebody who is Asian. Anyone who remembers M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender knows that this could be a very bad thing.
Rupert Sanders, director of Snow White and the Huntsmen, has also been attached to the film. With Steven Spielberg pushing to get this made, there is a good chance the film will be approved by Dreamworks for production.