It was only a matter of time. With a GITS feature finally in the works, it was somewhat a disappointment in my humble opinion that a film that lends itself to the iconic Japanese characters and cyberpunk Japanese cityscapes would be Anglicised in a remake was beyond a lot of us.
Scarlett Johannson was cast to play the lead for the film adaptation of Ghost In The Shell, and fans of the cult classic 1995 Masamune Shirow’s cyberpunk anime have started a petition to have Scarlet Johansson removed from the project. Fans obviously feel that her casting as Major Motoko Kusanagi (who is Asian) is whitewashing the classic anime, and cutting out Asian actors from an industry that is already stacked against them:
Fans of the iconic 1995 animated Japanese sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell have been anticipating a live-action remake for years – but now, instead of casting an Asian actress, Dreamworks has selected Scarlett Johansson for the lead role! The film revolves around Major Motoko Kusanagi, a member of a futuristic security force tasked with tracking a mysterious hacker.
The original film is set in Japan, and the major cast members are Japanese. So why would the American remake star a white actress? The industry is already unfriendly to Asian actors without roles in major films being changed to exclude them. One recent survey found that in 2013, Asian characters made up only 4.4% of speaking roles in top-grossing Hollywood films.
Dreamworks could be using this film to help provide opportunities for Asian-American actors in a market with few opportunities for them to shine – please sign the petition asking them to reconsider casting Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell and select actors who are truer to the cast of the original film!
With Hollywood, a lot of times it comes down to numbers, and if Scarlet Johansson is their ticket to swollen cinema openings, then they may ignore everything else. Unless the fans come out in their number to boycott the film, where Dreamworks may compromise. Time will tell. The same goes for the Akira remake if that film happens.
Dreamworks Ghost in the Shell live-action film is scheduled for release on April 14th 2017
So what do you think? Is it a big deal that an Asian is being replaced in a film adaptation just to bring more of an audience in? Or should the integrity of the original anime should be upheld at all costs? Let us know what you think in the comments below