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Scarlett Johansson Signs On for GHOST IN THE SHELL

There are sadly very few women in Hollywood today who are considered big enough names to open a movie, who have also proven they can cross genres from comedy to drama to action to sci-fi and so on. Right at the top of that list right now, and quite deservedly if we do say so ourselves, is Scarlett Johansson, who has been a standout performer (though still without a solo bolo) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and last year made a huge splash in Luc Besson’s crazy mind-expanding action flick Lucy. Now, the versatile actress has signed on as another badass character in DreamWorks’ live action spin on the classic anime film Ghost in the Shell.

Based on Masamune Shirow’s manga of the same name, the 1995 anime directed by Mamoru Oshii follows a cybernetically-augmented human, Major Motoko Kusanagi, who is the leader of Public Security Section 9. She and her team try to track down an infamous and dangerous hacker called the Puppet Master, which leads down a road of conspiracy, government cover-up, and of course, murder. The film was a cyber-punk staple, in the same vein as Akira, and dealt with the growing philosophical implications of giving our bodies over more and more to machines and technology. All themes that are even truer now than they were in 1995.

Johansson is an excellent choice to play the film’s heroine, given her ability to be strong, smart, and vulnerable in equal measure. DreamWorks’ co-founder Steven Spielberg has apparently been wanting to get a Ghost in the Shell movie off the ground for a long time, so having an actress as powerful a box office draw as Johansson signed on is a huge boon.

[HT: Variety]

For funsies, here’s the trailer for the original film so you can get an idea of the tone.

Are you looking forward to this adaptation? Who would you cast in other anime live action films? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. thedickdick says:

    If they keep to the original story, but update it-cool.I will see this either way. THEN- form my opinion.I am stoked to see Johansson in this, though will they change the setting? Is Japan integral to the story, or is the message of the film the important part?Can they make this without franchising it all to hell?

  2. QBOT says:

    I’m excited to see a real life tachikoma.

  3. scoy says:

    I’m very skeptical this will be any good at all. Hollywood has had a scrappy track record of turning anime in to film. Scarlett is a bad ass and all but I just feel this is gonna be horrible. 

  4. Catch says:

    Remember Dragon Ball Z the movie? Something to think about…

  5. Miguel says:

    Kyle Anderson, you should hand in your nerd card for even thinking ScarJo is appropriate for this role. No ands if or buts. Hand it in. You’ve failed as a nerd.

  6. Beth says:

    Because a name like Motiki Kusanagi just screams white blonde American actress. *eye roll*

  7. Scott says:

    I’m just upset that they cast an American actress to play a Japanese woman. 
    Nothing against the actress but the whole world of the thing takes place in Japan, with Japanese characters. 
    There are many Japanese or Japanese American actresses who could fit the bill. 

  8. Barbara Kohn says:

    Boo. Don’t like this. May end up to be another Aeon Flux debacle.

  9. Xeroz says:

    Just imagine for a moment if the “Song of Ice and Fire” series of books were written with the author worried about not offending someone. That would be horrible, wouldn’t it. That’s how I imagine this turning out.

  10. Xeroz says:

    Am I the only one more worried about the story itself getting “whitewashed”?I mean c’mon, if you’ve ever seen any of Ghost in the Shell’s various series or movies, how would you ever think, “DreamWorks would make that and do it even better”? Steven Spielberg, I can understand, but he does have the rest of the studio execs & shareholders to answer to. I doubt they’ll be willing to put they’re stamp of approval on anything even remotely similar to the movie, let alone the anime.Last I checked, even the anime had quite a few things you’d never see come out of a Disney owned property. And that’s ignoring the dumbing down they’ll probably have to do to the story as a whole.It might look good to them on paper (investment/return), but anyone who’s a fan will know better than to eat whatever they’re cooking just because they have a hot woman telling them how tasty it is. Is that why you liked the movie or anime? Sure as he’ll isn’t for me. I didn’t have to see a half naked Mokoto for the story to be good. It only helped, but always as a bonus. Never as the main reason for liking it.I can only hope, as futile as I honestly think it is, that they won’t butcher the franchise.It’s just hard to believe that an industry that relies so heavily on the lowest common denominator, is all of a sudden going to embrace a culture which thrives as a niche part of subculture.Would you ever expect to see as many religious/historical/etc. references as “A Certain Magical Index” has in a US released movie? Even though they’re in no way meant to be taken literally, anything like that in Hollywood would be shot down in a heartbeat. They’d be afraid it would insult some people, even though it’s a completely fictional world, with completely fictional characters.In short, they’re way more worried about offending “some one” than they are about telling a compelling story that’s only intended for people who already like similar things.
    If you’ve read this much, thank you for you’re time, and I welcome you’re constructive counterpoints to anything I’ve mentioned.
    Per usual: “Random thoughts from a mind with too much imagination.”

  11. goldprofit says:

    I like how everyones argument is “shes white/shes not japanese”, because that is what ultimately make a movie the color or noncolor of someones skin. Are these the same people all up in arms about a colored stormtrooper? And have to agree with Nick the lead looks more cacasian than asian

  12. Hepstyle says:

    I find myself wondering how Hollywood is going to screw this movie up. 

  13. Erik says:

    A shame that there are no more japanese actresses in the world.

    • Nick says:

      Why would they need to use a Japanese actress? I mean the character in question looks much more Caucasian than Japanese. 

  14. Loki says:

    They really, REALLY need Ron Perlman for Batou. Like, I almost wouldn’t watch it without him.

  15. bmalsuj says:

    Firstly, I have to give it a shot… I am skeptical, but I haven’t written it off…
    Secondly… the “Share this on your social meadia” buttons are becming annoying with the scrolling and partially covering up the article’s text…

    • Ed says:

      I’ll give ScarJo a shot. After all, she wasn’t the first Black Widow cast, and that turned out okay. Let’s see how her physicality and conflict does as Kusanagi.                                                                                                            Then compare her version to the DVD and manga collection that I got.                                                                                                                                                                  Perelman as Batou chugging down San Miguel’s?? Yeah, I can see that…

  16. Libbyman555 says:

    I say she’s not a bad choice since they could have gone way worse. The only question I have is who is gonna play Batou?

  17. Because it was too damn difficult to find a Japanese actress to play the role? 

  18. Lukas says:

    Still interested in a cowboy bebop flick… Keanu wanted to I believe, then some others have photoshopped other actors into the other roles…

  19. Morgan Hua says:

    Ron Perlman as Batou.

  20. Janine Clifford says:

    my co-worker’s sister makes 80 an hour on the internet… she has been without a job for 6 months… the previous month her pay check was 13528 just working on the internet for 3 hours per day, see this

  21. Bush says:

    Ryan Reynolds as Vash the Stampede

  22. No doubt she can perform Motoko Kusanagi, it’s the movie production what worries me, nobody wants another Dragon Ball evolution or Airbender movie

  23. No doubt she can perform Motoko Kusanagi 

  24. nicholas says:

    I think Scarjo is a pretty good choice. Kusanagi doesn’t look asian, so I don’t see why the actor has to be asian. I don’t think it’ll be good because live action and anime don’t mix. It may work if it’s based loosely on ghost in the shell.

  25. HalloriDD says:

    please. not. this. disgustign. zionist. biooooooooaaaaaaaatch.

  26. Vid Tuesday says:

    This is another terrible example of whitewashing coming out of Hollywood. I like Scarlett Johansson, but no casting agent should ever look at her and say “Yeah, we should definitely cast her as a character named Motoko Kusanagi.” Off the top of my head, why not Rinko Kikuchi?

    • MJB says:

      I don’t agree with Scarlett either, but there’s a reason fan pics are NEVER who gets cast, and that’s because we’re probably actually wrong, despite all the (in reality) unrelated arguments. 

      Kikuchi is Japanese. That’s about her only real qualification. Otherwise nothing i’ve ever seen her in makes me think she’d be a very good Major. At least ScarJo has the build for it and she can manage Femme Fatale pretty well.

      So while I don’t think the movie should be made at all, I think ScarJo is a better choice than Kikuchi. You’ve got to ask yourself “Is this character’s ethnicity a major component of the character?” and for pretty much anybody in GITS, the answer is NO. You can maintain the character without an asian actor.

      They rarely ever use Asian actors for the american dubs, and we love most of those voices. They’re rarely ever trying to “sound” asian. Why is that totally okay, but whenever a non-asian character is cast in a role that is otherwise Asian, it’s a hate crime?

      That’s implying that they cast ScarJo because she’s white. It’s because they thought she’d be a combination of Box Office Draw and capability to fill the role well. 

      • FunnyHow says:

        being Japanese to play a Japanese character is about the best qualification you can have.

      • Vid Tuesday says:

        ScarJo definitely can play a femme fatale, but *she isn’t Asian*. If you want to make a Ghost in the Shell movie, you can’t just have the lead be white. It’s absurd and offensive. 
        As to Kikuchi not having qualifications? I think Pacific Rim showed that she’s capable of action choreography, and she’s a talented actress. Also, yes, like the character of the Major, she’s Japanese. 
        Taking away what few roles exist explicitly for people of color can’t be defended, because it’s not like people of color are being cast as the default lead of many other films.

    • Gravekeeper says:

      Personally, I don’t care if she’s white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, or whatever. As long as she does a good job at portraying the character I’m happy.

    • J.C says:

      I’m a minority. The whole whitewashing thing I never got. I mean if your doing a historical based movie/bio/based on real events thing and your turning characters who were minorities into white. I understand. But getting upset that Japanese CARTOON characters aren’t going to be Japanese in the AMERICAN adaption is kind of crazy. Movies are going to reflect the majority in a country. And Right now the majority is Caucasian in this country. It is slowly changing but that’s what it is right now. In Japan if they adapted Miami Vice and called it Tokyo Vice, do you think they would find a black and white guy to play Crockett and Tubbs or do you think they would just find two Japanese actors. I mean C’mon. Let’s be realistic

  27. AdiaShardae says:

    This is actually terribad news. Not because of Scarlett, but because this is actually going to be a thing. 

  28. Mous3 says:

    skeptically stoked.