Hollywood doesn’t have a stellar track record when it comes to adapting anime, and it seems the trend is going to continue with the announcement that the oft-criticized Ghost in the Shell adaptation is pushing through. The latest news about the adaptation is that Scarlett Johansson will be starring in the lead role based on Major Motoko Kusanagi, the protagonist of the source material. The 1995 anime film is heralded as a classic among fans, and along with Akira, signaled the rise of Japanese animation in the west.
The Ghost in the Shell manga and subsequent anime adaptation proved to be successful, that it eventually became a franchise that spawned films and an animated TV series. The story revolves around a Japanese counter-terrorism team led by the cybernetically-enhanced Major Kusanagi. The Hollywood remake starring Johansson will be the first western take on the story, and will most likely transfer the action to North America instead of Japan.
— The Verge (@verge) January 5, 2015
Johansson has proven herself to be a marketable female action star with recent films like Lucy and her role as Black Widow in the Avengers franchise proving to be huge box office draws. However, a lot of the fans of the original work are not happy with the casting choice. Fans took to Twitter to accuse Hollywood of “whitewashing” and choosing popular Caucasian actresses to take on roles that were meant for Asian women. One Twitter user sarcastically remarked, “Every Asian actress alive was just too busy, probably”.
Every Asian actress alive was just too busy, probably http://t.co/Kxtbby0ke0
— Yohana Desta (@YohanaDesta) January 5, 2015
I’m more offended that they’re remaking ghost in the shell as a live action movie than I am about Scarlett Johannson being in it.
— Smo (@Smomotion) January 7, 2015
Scarjo cast as Motoko in Ghost in the Shell movie. Cue people coming to the defense of whitewashing. Lest we forget: http://t.co/AmTsMzIrvs
— Maki Scare-O (@sciencecomic) January 6, 2015
Hollywood Loses The Plot With Its ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Movie Casting http://t.co/rA8UfmMAWJ
— Josiane Elias Reis (@josieliasreis) January 7, 2015
Anyone else worried about the Ghost in The Shell movie? #whatcouldgowrong
— GiGi (@W_T_F) January 7, 2015
The Ghost in the Shell live action film will be directed by Snow White and The Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders from a script written by The Reluctant Fundamentalist’s Bill Wheeler. Whether or not they stick to the source material remains to be seen. Only time will tell if the film proves to be successful enough to change the minds of the naysayers. But at this point, a lot of fans are remaining skeptical.