Since details began to leak from the production of the live-action Ghost in the Shell, there probably has been more controversy than excitement. Being based on the popular manga, the casting of Scarlett Johansson in the lead role as an originally Japanese character has led to a lot of criticism. There were even rumors about possible digital manipulations of Johansson to make her appear more racially similar to the source material. And even though they were quickly denied, it still has conjured up a noticeable amount of hate from fans.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot of potential for this adaptation. So far we have only seen one photo of Johansson from set, showing off her faithful look to the manga. But (via Kotaku) a few new ones have just been unveiled. While the production is based in New Zealand, they have temporally moved to Hong Kong for some location shooting. They feature Johassson walking the streets, looking like she’s ready for anything. Besides seeing more of her, the new photos also reveal the character of Batou, played by actor Pilous Asbæk.
Helmed by Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, Ghost in the Shell looks like it could be a fascinating film to see. It tells the story of a human-cyborg (Johansson) that is a part of a security agency that goes after a notorious hacker. Unsurprisingly, this Hollywood version is not the first time this renowned story has been adapted; back in 1995 there was an acclaimed anime film that has since drawn a large cult audience. It’s a futuristic, chilling and complex tale that should make for an interesting live-action version.
Despite the unfortunate topics surrounding it, Ghost in the Shell is doing a (generally) faithful take on the manga. And while there’s no denying the whitewashing situation, Johansson seems like a smart choice for the lead role. Hopefully sometime in the next few months we may get a teaser trailer that may give us some more insight into the story.
Ghost in the Shell sneaks into theaters on March 31, 2017.