Watch 5 New Ghost in the Shell Teasers!
Ghost in the Shell is an upcoming 2017 American science fiction crime drama film based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt, Takeshi Kitano, Chin Han, Lasarus Ratuere and Juliette Binoche. The film will be released on March 31, 2017 in theatres and IMAX.
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In 2008, DreamWorks (which had distributed theatrically in North America through its Go Fish Pictures banner the film Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence) and Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to produce a live-action film adaptation of the original manga. Avi Arad, and Steven Paul were later confirmed as producers, with Jamie Moss (Street Kings) to write the screenplay. In October 2009, it was announced thatLaeta Kalogridis (Alexander, Shutter Island) had replaced Moss as writer. On January 24, 2014, it was reported that Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) will direct the film, with a screenplay by William Wheeler (The Hoax, The Reluctant Fundamentalist). On September 3, 2014, Margot Robbie was in early talks for the lead role. On October 16, it was announced that DreamWorks had made a $10 million offer to Scarlett Johansson for the lead role, after Robbie’s talks for the role fell apart when she was cast as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. In May 2015, Paramount Pictures agreed to co-produce and co-finance the film. On November 10, 2015, Pilou Asbæk was cast in the film for the role of Batou, the best fighter and second in command in the army. On November 19, 2015, it was reported that Sam Riley was in early talks to join the film for the villain role as The Laughing Man, the leader of most dangerous criminals and extremists. But, on February 4, 2016, Variety reported that Michael Pitt was in talks for the role. On March 3, 2016, TheWrap reported that Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano had been cast as Daisuke Aramaki, the founder and leader of the elite unit Section 9 tasked with protecting the world from the most dangerous technological threats.
Principal photography on the film began on location in Wellington, New Zealand, on February 1, 2016. In April 2016, the full cast was announced, which included Juliette Binoche, Chin Han and Kaori Momoi. In May 2016, Rila Fukushima was cast in a role. Filming wrapped up in New Zealand on June 3, 2016. Filming also will take place in Hong Kong around Pak Hoi Street and Woosung Street on June 7, 8 and 10 or 14–16.
The casting of Johansson in the lead role caused accusations of whitewashing, especially from English fans of the original Japanese franchise. As it is still unclear if Johansson’s character will retain her Japanese name, fans have argued that changing both the Japanese setting and main character’s name to make the film a complete cultural adaptation would be a wiser decision. It has been alleged that the filmmakers at one point commissioned the usage of CGI and other visual effects testing to alter Johansson’s appearance in order to make her ethnicity appear Asian, spurring further backlash, including an ironic video response from popular YouTube filmmaker Freddie Wong. Paramount has stated the tests were short-lived and did not involve Johansson. Some fans as well as people working in the industry have claimed the controversy is a symptom of a bigger issue, and that modern Hollywood fears casting non-white actors would bring films less of a profit than white actors would bring. Marc Bernardin of the Los Angeles Times commented that “the only race Hollywood cares about is the box office race.”
In Japan, fans of the manga were surprised that the casting caused controversy with many already assuming that the Hollywood production would choose a white actress in the lead role. Sam Yoshiba, director of the international business division at Kodansha’s Tokyo headquarters (the company which holds the rights to the series and its characters) said, “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.”
Producer Steven Paul addressed the controversy, referring to the setting of the film as “an international world”, stating “There [are] all sorts of people and nationalities in the world in Ghost in the Shell. We’re utilizing people from all over the world. There’s Japanese in it. There’s Chinese in it. There’s English in it. There’s Americans in it.”