Ever since news broke that Scarlett Johansson was cast as Major Motoko Kusanagi in the new Ghost in the Shell live-action reboot, the internet has been divided in two vivacious sides: on one end of the spectrum there are the fans that see it as Hollywood picking an actress that will sell the most amount of tickets, regardless of racial origins vs. the other end of that same spectrum that is sick of the “white-washing” that Hollywood does when casting POC characters. Movies like Pacific Rim have showcased that there are plenty of actresses that could fit the bill of the Major. Regardless of what side you as the reader decide to rally behind, the controversy has raised a few valid points on both sides.
An interesting thing to note is that most of the backlash is occurring on the western side of the globe. The majority of the Japanese target audience have already assumed that the role would go to a white actress. Whether that be because of years of conditioning or because of what the character herself looks like, that point will always remain a ‘hot’ topic.
But what does the publisher of the manga himself have to say about all of this? Sam Yoshiba, the Director of the International Business Division at Kodnasha and the publisher of Ghost in the Shell, told Hollywood Reporter this:
“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. [We are] impressed by the respect shown for the source material.”
Not what you were expecting, was it?
We here at Don’t Hate the Geek saw some of that backlash first hand when we first reported what to expect in the upcoming film. There is no denying that Hollywood has a history of ‘white-washing’ films. They’ve made no attempt to hide it and Directors have come out and said they just think the audience would be more receptive to a “white representation” of certain POC characters. The underlying issue is a deep one but in the case of Ghost in the Shell, the creators themselves back the project – for better or worse – and now what’s left is to wait and see how the film fares upon release. Will be a hit or will it be another Dragon Ball: Evolution flop? Only time will tell but hang with us Geeks as we bring you the latest in what’s happening in the Geek-verse.