Ghost in the Shell live-action received backlash from fans regarding the alleged Hollywood’s white-washing of an Asian character particularly on Scarlett Johansson’s role.
Johansson will be playing Major Motoko Kusanagi in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell live-action next year. Upon receiving the role, she earned lots of rants from fans. Various sources stated that Hollywood’s casting was not faithful to the franchise’s Japanese roots.
Despite the rants, it’s the first time that an individual (Scarlett Johansson) was involved on it. Movie producer Steven Paul remained silent about the issue in the past. However, he finally spoke and responded lately.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, he revealed that Ghost in the Shell live-action movie is not exclusively set in Japan. It was actually in an international world contrasting the original manga’s fictional Japanese city of Niihama.
Hence, he saw it as a movie with international community which resulted to casting different nationalities in the film like Japanese, Chinese, English, and American actors.
One of those picked up is Scarlett Johansson playing the major role of the live-action movie. Others include Pilous Asbaek, Michael Pitt, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Kaori Momoi, and Chin Han.
“I don’t think it was just a Japanese story. ‘Ghost in the Shell’ was a very international story, and it wasn’t just focused on Japanse; it was supposed to be an entire world. That’s why I say the international approach is, I think, the right approach to it,” Paul said.
“We’re utilizing people from all over the world … There’s Japanese in it. There’s Chinese in it. There’s English in in. There’s Americans in it,” he explained.
“As I said, the fans will be very happy because there’s a great respect that’s been paid to the manga. Obviously, there’s some new imagination, as well. I mean, like anything, when you’re making a movie, you’ve gotta bring your own,” he added.
In spite of his explanations, many of the Asian actors and actresses still felt unpleasant with Hollywood’s choice on Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi. They also explained how rare for an Asian actor or actress to land to an Asian role in the US and in the West in general, AP reported.
Kaori Momoi who will play as Motoko’s mother in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell live-action along with Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov suggested that Hollywood casting should be based from talent and note on skin color or nationality.
Nonetheless, Momoi still felt blessed working with Scarlett Johansson and praised the actress’ devotion, skill and professionalism in her character.
Photo courtesy: Instagram.com/@scarlettingridjohansson