Almost as soon as plans for a Ghost in the Shell film adaptation were announced, controversy erupted over the casting of Scarlett Johansson as The Major. Now, as Paramount Pictures drops the first trailer for Ghost in the Shell and fans get a good, two minute long look at Johansson’s character, minds are slowly changing and doubts are being allayed. If that’s not enough, Ghost in the Shell director, Rupert Sanders offers even greater insight, not just for bringing in Scarlett Johansson, but in delivering such a greatly diverse cast in his version of the Asian-oriented anime classic.
Ghost In The Shell Delivers A Wild Ride With Scarlett Johansson As The Major
As the first look at Ghost in the Shell emerges, Forbes points out that the accusations of whitewashing the story’s characters are being raised along with it, calling into question the wisdom of bringing in Johansson to play The Major, who was an Asian male in the anime source material. As is the case in many film adaptations, certain factors of a story are changed for a variety of reasons and, in the case of Ghost in the Shell, there have been several alterations, though none of them could be said to significantly affect the base story.
Ghost in the Shell is a science fiction anime story that takes place in an undetermined future where people can upload their minds into the virtual world. In doing so, they trade in their mortal bodies for synthetic bodies. From there, Ghost in the Shell addresses the questions of mortality and what exactly qualifies one as a living entity. Can a machine be alive?
The story follows “Major” Motoko Kusanagi. In the film adaptation, the character is known only as The Major and is played by Scarlett Johansson, but otherwise remains very similar to the anime character. Rupert Sanders’ vision for the film adaptation has The Major questioning everything about her identity, from her sexuality to her mysterious past.
Ghost In The Shell Director Rupert Sanders Shares His Thoughts On Scarlett Johansson As The Major
Rupert Sanders was recently participating in an on stage interview in Tokyo, where, as The Verge shares, he responded to inquiries about his choice to bring Scarlett in to play The Major. In responding to criticism, the Ghost in the Shell director opened by acknowledging that the film already does have a diverse international cast, adding that each person brought in on the project is exceptionally talented and an ideal fit for his or her role. For Johansson, Sanders says the actress already had the cyberpunk kind of look for which he was seeking.
“You know, she comes from such edgy films from Lost in Translation to Under the Skin — she’s got an incredible body of work and the attitude and toughness of her really is to me The Major,” says the Ghost in the Shell boss.
Rupert also says that he can’t imagine any other actor playing the role of The Major as believably as Johansson. He says Scarlett perfectly interpreted the character of an android with a human mind and credits her for doing an “incredible job” in portraying the evolution of human to machine.
For those who are unwavering in their criticism of the casting of Scarlett Johansson as The Major, Ghost in the Shell’s Sanders is equally adamant in standing by his decision. He has addressed the issue on multiple occasions, but, in the end, the director has the final word.
“I stand by my decision — she’s the best actress of her generation and I was flattered and honored that she would be in this film,” said the Ghost in the Shell director. “So many people who were around the original anime have been vehemently in support of her because she’s incredible and there are very few like her.”
Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson, Michael Wincott, and Michael Pitt, opens in theaters on March 31, 2017.
[Featured Image by Paramount Pictures]