Ghost in the Shell may very well be the most controversial live-action adaptation to come down the line yet, as fans both anticipate and dread the release of a film that seems to be taking forever to complete. While many focus on the alleged whitewashing of The Master in Ghost in the Shell to enable Scarlett Johansson to step into the role, there’s much, much more to concern loyal fans of the anime series. Hoping to give fans a clearer picture of what they may expect from the live-action Ghost in the Shell film, star Scarlett Johansson and director Rupert Sanders have both stepped up to try to explain what will and what won’t be included in the final version of the live action film.
Scarlett Johansson Says Ghost In The Shell Will Be “Rupert Sanders’ Vision For This World”
Sitting down to speak with Collider, Scarlett Johansson was faced with a common question that is, at its heart, one of the most difficult questions to answer about the upcoming Ghost in the Shell film. Scarlett was asked how the final film will differ from what she expected, going in at the start of the project. Essentially, this is what everyone wants to know. Just how different will the live action Ghost in the Shell film be from the anime source material?
Even as Ms. Johansson tries to answer it, she finds it difficult to explain without spilling spoilers, but Scarlett also says it’s a difficult question to answer, because Ghost in the Shell is still deep in production.
“It’s hard to have the perspective and also, I think to remember what you – the thing that drew me to this project is still here, it’s Rupert [Sanders]’s vision for this world,” says Ms. Johansson.
As fans of the anime source material are aware, the character of The Major, as played in the film by Johansson, possesses elements of sexuality that don’t translate well into the live action film. This conundrum becomes even more apparent, as one comes to realize Scarlett’s Ghost in the Shell character is, in fact, a cyborg.
“Um, I think she’s very removed from her sexuality. She’s in the midst of an identity crisis which I think, I guess perhaps some people’s sexuality or an abundance of it or whatever, comes at that time. Like they lose themselves in that because they’re missing other parts of themselves, but I think for her, she doesn’t know who she was,” explains Scarlett.
Scarlett couldn’t answer the question of what changes may shock fans, but she could explain that she came to the character of The Major with a clean slate to make it her own. While many Ghost in the Shell fans certainly have their own expectations, Johansson says creating a live version of an animated character automatically necessitates certain changes. In the end, Sanders and Johansson agreed to trust their instincts and create a version of The Major that will possess elements of the anime character, but will also be believable as a live action character.
Ghost In The Shell Producer Avi Arad Dishes On What Fans Can Expect
While the idea is to include as many different elements from the original Ghost in the Shell anime story as possible, producer Avi Arad reveals to Blastr that fans may be disappointed to learn that some characters won’t make it into the film. Neither Puppetmaster nor Laughing Man have made it into the story for the live action adaptation. Arad says the film’s story will focus on Hideo Kuze.
The Ghost in the Shell producer adds that the film is based off of the Affection in Second Gig episode and details that the emphasis will be on The Major’s own sense of self-discovery. Avi adds that the story is part an origins tale and part coming to terms with oneself for Scarlett Johansson’s character.
Additionally, there will be external villains with whom The Major must deal, as the Ghost in the Shell story progresses. Even so, Arad says much of the film is propelled by The Major’s internal struggles and suggests the outside villains are present merely to propel that inner conflict.
“I find that part of the reason we didn’t do Puppetmaster in this movie was we didn’t really feel like we had time to tell that story, and in your first movie the way the characters feel about themselves and the relationship with those people that they care about is usually more than enough story for a movie to handle,” adds the Ghost in the Shell producer. “So there are villains and they do drive a lot of the story, but they are really there to antagonize her spiritually.”
Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson, Michael Wincott, and Michael Pitt, is set to hit theaters on March 31, 2017.
[Featured Image by Paramount Pictures]