Maybe Hollywood should just stop trying to adapt anime to live action? The latest film to cause a firestorm of controversy is Paramount’s ‘Ghost In The Shell’ with Scarlett Johansson as the lead character, known in this version as simply “The Major” but originally named Motoko Kusanagi. Critics have called this another case of Hollywood whitewashing. A similar charge was lobbied against the US adaptation of ‘Death Note’ which has steadily lost steam and is now going straight to Netflix.
But considering that both films are being created for mainstream US and international audiences and that it will presumably be set in the US and not Japan, it’s not too hard to comprehend the decision to cast a Caucasian star in the lead.
And one person isn’t concerned, Sam Yoshiba of Kodanasha, the publisher who first published the manga upon which the subsequent anime and the new movie are based. Yoshiba serves as the Director of International Business for Kodanasha and gave his endorsement to Johansson, saying:
“Looking at her career so far, I think Scarlett Johansson is well cast. She has the cyberpunk feel. And we never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place.
“This is a chance for a Japanese property to be seen around the world.”
Unlike ‘Death Note’, ‘Ghost In The Shell’ has never been adapted into live action before, however, there have been three animated films.
Recently an uproar emerged when it was learned that Paramount experimented with CGI to make at least one Caucasian background actor look Asian. (This idea was abandoned.) As of now, it’s not known if Johansson’s character’s name will be changed or if the film will be set in the US or Japan. Critics have stated that they would be happier if everything about this film was entirely Westernized, rather than trying to stay true to the Japanese source material with Western elements.
What do you think? Are you upset by Johansson’s casting? Would you rather this be an entirely Western production or do you think the filmmakers should honor the Japanese source?
‘Ghost In The Shell’ will be directed by Rupert Sanders and stars Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Juliette Binoche, Takeshi Kitano, Joseph Naufahu, Chin Han and Michael Wincott. It is scheduled for release on April 14, 2017.
Source: Screen Rant