After months of rumors, it has finally been confirmed that Dreamworks and director Rupert Sanders (‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘) has officially offered the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi (though potentially the name of the main character might be changed for the film) to Scarlett Johansson (with a $10 million price tag) in the upcoming film adaptation of Masumune Shirow’s 1989 ‘Ghost in the Shell’ manga comic, which to all intents and purposes, Johansson is accepting.
For those unaware of the backstory of ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ it is set in a futuristic world where humans have cybernetic implants within their brains, implants that can potentially be hacked by criminals. The hero of the story, Major Motoko Kusanagi, works with a team to stop the cyber criminals, and she is enhanced by the fact that her own body is a cyborg frame, due to an accident from her childhood. Presumably even if the name changes, a lot of the backstory to the lead character will carry over into the film version, meaning that Johansson will basically be playing a kind of superheroine, a person stuck in a robot body fighting cyber crime, all of which sounds like it could be very fun to watch if done correctly.
And that is part of the problem with this adaptation, in that director Rupert Sanders has not really proven himself visually, and this sounds like its going to be film propelled by the futuristic visuals and crazy cyborg/ cybernetic implants. If he can’t pull off the look, it won’t matter how well Johansson does, the film will be doomed. Fortunately for him, with Johansson attached its already sure to draw an audience (similar to what happened with ‘Lucy’), but lets all hope that potential is not wasted and we can finally see Johansson star in something truly great, that takes full advantage of her talents.