Actress Scarlett Johansson has already played an action hero in Iron Man, The Avengers, and Captain America. Now Variety reports she’s signed on to become a cyborg superhero of sorts in DreamWork’s adaptation of the popular and influential Japanese anime, Ghost in the Shell.
Johansson was reportedly offered the role in October 2014 to the tune of $10 million after Margot Robbie dropped out. There’s no official announcement that she’s put pen to paper for a Ghost in the Shell movie, but Variety‘s sources say it is so. Avi Arad and Steven Paul are producing the film with Rupert Sanders directing the script provided by Bill Wheeler.
The Ghost in the Shell movie has languished in various stages of production despite Steven Spielberg being a huge fan. Adding Johansson to the film will go a long way to help get the film greenlit by Dreamworks. Sources with Variety say that Paramount is considering coming on board to co-finance the film.
Ghost in the Shell follows the members of Public Security Section 9, a special counter-terrorism task force made up of former military officers and police detectives. It’s described as a “post-cyberpunk” setting where it’s common that people have cybernetically enhanced brains and prosthetic body parts. Some have opted to go with a full prosthetic body and have become cyborgs.
It is likely that that the heroine of Ghost in the Shell, Major Motoko Kusanagi, will be changed to an Americanized version of the character. She is one such person who has a full cybernetic body following a childhood accident.
The original Ghost in the Shell manga and anime film explored themes on the societal impacts of technological advances that merge man and machine. It also touched on cyber-crime, and what it means to be human when everything you are is contained in a cybernetic brain that can be hacked, copied, or taken over.
Ghost in the Shell has been highly influential to modern filmmakers with The Matrix series by the Wachowskis being an obvious pick. Steven Spielberg’s AI: Artificial Intelligence is another film thought to have been influenced by Ghost in the Shell, given the director’s love of the film.
Johansson’s last film to be released was Lucy, which evolved her from a patsy to the most dangerous woman on the planet via unlocked powers. Her work on Avengers: Age of Ultron has finished, but she is currently providing the voice of Kaa in The Jungle Book and is filming Hail, Cassar! for a 2016 release. If things go well, Ghost in the Shell would likely be a 2017 or 2018 release.
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