Scarlett Johansson

First Look At Scarlett Johansson Filming ‘Ghost In The Shell’ In New Zealand

The announcement is officially out that Scarlett Johansson is busy shooting the upcoming film Ghost In The Shell on location in Wellington, New Zealand.

Based on the Kodansha Comics manga series of the same name, Johansson will be starring as Major Kusanagi, “a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid,” leading the Section 9 elite task force in stopping the most dangerous extremists and criminals. The manga series was written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow.

In the film, Section 9 is threatened by an enemy whose goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotics and their advancements in cyber technology. The first official photo of Johansson in the role as the Major can be seen below.

As reported by the NZ Herald, the Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures movie has begun shooting and will be heading for a U.S. release on March 31, 2017.

Besides Scarlett Johansson, stars of Ghost In The Shell will include Beat Takeshi Kitano in the role of Daisuke Aramaki, Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Chocolat) as Dr. Ouelet, Pilou Asbæk (who starred with Johansson in Lucy) as Batou, Michael Pitt (Hannibal and Boardwalk Empire) as Kuze and Kaori Momoi (Memoirs Of A Geisha, Hong Kong Confidential).

As for members of Section 9, these will feature Chin Han (Independence Day: Resurgence), Danusia Samal (Tyrant), Lasarus Ratuere (Terra Nova), Yutaka Izumihara (Unbroken) and Tuwanda Manyimo (The Rover).

The film is being directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and The Huntsman), and the producers are Avi Arad (Spider-Man 1 & 2, Iron Man), Ari Arad (Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance), Jeffrey Silver (Edge of Tomorrow and 300), and Michael Costigan (Prometheus).

The producers recently told the media how pleased they are to be in Wellington to shoot Ghost In The Shell, saying, “The city boasts state-of-the-art production facilities and a rich urban landscape that make it an ideal setting for a sci-fi action film.”

“The crew-base in New Zealand working on the film is first class, and working with Sir Richard Taylor and the team at Weta Workshop is inspirational on every level.”

They went on to say the people of New Zealand have been terrific partners in assisting with bringing the story and its beloved characters to audiences around the world and they thanked them for their continued hospitality.

According to a report in the NZ Herald, the Avengers actress brought her baby daughter, Rose, with her to Wellington for the shooting of Ghost In The Shell. Reportedly, Scarlett and her baby girl arrived by private jet in Wellington in January, along with her husband, journalist Romain Dauriac, a nanny, and an entourage of security guards.

While obviously an exciting movie in the making, Ghost In The Shell hasn’t been short on controversy, however, with many saying ScarJo’s role in the film is a typical example of Hollywood whitewashing.

Johansson will obviously be great in the role and fans will no doubt enjoy the film, but what with the recent debacle over the Oscars and lack of diversity in the nominations and awards, many have suggested that a Japanese actress would be far more suitable for the part.

Yahoo! Style came up with a series of suitable alternatives, including, among others, Rinko Kikuchi, a 35-year-old actress from Kanagawa, Japan (pictured above), who was the first Japanese actress to get an Oscar nomination in half a century for her role in the 2006 film Babel. Reportedly she has since been seen in Norwegian Wood, Pacific Rim, and Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.

This isn’t the first time Scarlett Johansson has featured in the news in a less-than-human form, however. The Inquisitr recently reported the story of the Hong Kong man who created a realistic and spooky robot with the actress’ likeness.

[Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images]

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