Rumors began to swirl this week that Scarlett Johansen Johannssen Johnson McGillicuddy Johansson is preparing for a lead role in ‘Ghost In The Shell’, with many commenters angry that she would, presumably, be playing a role written as a Japanese character. (I have been unable to find any indication of WHAT role she is attached to, only that it is considered a “lead” role.) Much speculation has been made that her casting is only a stunt to secure funding for the film, an assertion as plausible as it is impossible to prove or disprove.  Interestingly, Scarlett reportedly is replacing Margot Robbie (who has been cast as Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad”), indicating that the director may have had a “type” in mind, leading to today’s rumorlicious query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is a fan of Ms. Jowhatever, but has no trouble seeing why people have problems with this announcement, asking: Is the casting of Scarlett Johansson in ‘Ghost In The Shell’ an issue for you?

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Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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12 Comments

  1. drago
    January 7, 2015 at 11:48 am — Reply

    I’m more bothered with the constant remakes of movies that were so good they should just be left alone. Ghost in the Shell was a spectacular film at the end of a golden age of Anime, just leave it be. I’m not sure modern society is into cyberpunk as much as we were in the 80’s and early 90’s but I’d assume they want an actress they can slap a tight costume around and have them flip around a bit, so she’ll be fine. She’s an actress with a great deal of depth but you can’t blame anyone for chasing paychecks.

  2. Zaran
    January 7, 2015 at 11:56 am — Reply

    Not at all. If this is an American movie, then why does it have to be acted by Japanese? I think she’s a great action star and hope she continues to do movies like these. It’s possible that it doesn’t take place in Japan.

  3. January 7, 2015 at 12:02 pm — Reply

    Not because of her. I see two issues when race comes up in Hollywood. First, like your post said, Scarlett gets these roles because she is a “big name” right now. The movie would unlikely be made without someone big involved. If Speilburg wanted the movie made it would be enough and he could cast pretty much whoever he wanted. The makers of this film don’t have that clout so they got someone the studio would say yes to. The fact there are probably plenty of Japanese (or Asian in general) actors who could do just as amazing as Scarlett in this role, but weren’t even considered is the problem. For me the title “Ghost in the Shell” is enough to get me interested, regardless of who is playing the part.

    The second issue I have is the “race” problem as a whole. I hate hearing people get upset that someone isn’t “right for a role” because of ethnicity. It shouldn’t matter who plays a fictional character. That being said however, race is an issue in our world and shouldn’t be ignored. White people (like me) have been in control for a long time. And while I’m not calling for a violent overthrow of society, I do want the norms to change. I want diversity in media to not be an issue. The color of someone’s skin should be a non-factor. Neither should their religion. Neither should their gender. Neither should their sexual orientation. A white woman is slated to play a character (most likely) from Japan (who is probably a robot as well and thus her outward appearance can change as desired). In the grand scheme of things…I don’t care, I’m going to watch the movie based on a property I enjoy (unless it is horrible). But there has been so much inequality in the past that we need to make up for it. I can’t say what “the fix” is for the problem. I’m not in Hollywood making desicions, and I’m a white guy so I can’t speak for the minorities being ignored.

    I do agree there needs to be a change in how things are done.

  4. Alisha
    January 7, 2015 at 1:51 pm — Reply

    Honestly? I have no idea. The movie will obviously be different from the animated films and series, so in context it might work. Ideally I’d prefer an actress of Asian descent (and there are PLENTY I can think of that would be excellent for this role), but it doesn’t really bother me.

    Just look at the live-action “Speed Racer” or “Dragonball” films. No, seriously, look at those awful films. It wasn’t the casting that made them horrible, it was the writing, directing and other factors that made them so despicable. Even if they had an entirely different cast, those movies would still be awful, and I actually think most of the casting choices in those films were pretty decent despite how bad the films were.

  5. Arbor Day
    January 7, 2015 at 3:15 pm — Reply

    I don’t particularly like Scarlett Johansson as an action star. The cut away to a stunt double a lot in her role as Black Widow, noticeably so. She’s a fine actress but doesn’t really have the physicality or Milla Jovavich or Zoe Saldana.

  6. January 7, 2015 at 3:57 pm — Reply

    I dont have any problems with this casting. That said, I have zero faith this will be any good either, Hollywood has terrible track record of adapting Asian stories to big budget films.

  7. January 7, 2015 at 5:52 pm — Reply

    I have no more an issue with this than I did with Spike Lee (one of the biggest champions for diversity in the film business) casting Josh Brolin as the lead in the Oldboy remake. Which is to say none. It’s inherently an Americanization of an established international property. Where was the outrage when Godzilla was cast?

    • January 7, 2015 at 6:29 pm — Reply

      To be honest, I heard the same complaints then…

    • Alisha
      January 8, 2015 at 10:30 am — Reply

      Where were you hiding? There was a TON of outrage over Godzilla!

      • January 8, 2015 at 11:56 am — Reply

        Really? I was all over the internet and heard some complaints about the thickness of the monster design, but people generally loved the poster and the idea of casting Cranston. I didn’t read a single complaint that US actors had been cast; It seemed to be a given since we had done the same thing every other time we had Americanized the same property. Is anyone upset that no one in this international Action Jackson remake looks like Carl Weathers? I’m not. I consider it to be a given… http://youtu.be/YubQzbzGHps

        • January 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm — Reply

          I’m sorry, I did a disservice to Asian-American actors by mistakenly typing “US actors” there. I just meant non-Asian.

  8. Oldcomicfan
    January 8, 2015 at 7:58 am — Reply

    I have no problem with her playing Major Kusanagi… her body is completely cybernetic, so she could be a woman (and at the end of the original, she was put into a child’s body) or a man, or a dog, or any “race” they painted the cybernetic body to resemble. What I object to is when Hollywood remakes a foreign classic film. Akira is a prime example. They were planning on taking a five hour epic animated film and turn it into an hour and ten minute live action film, cast it with American actors and set it in a city other than neo-Tokyo… in other words, they weren’t really going to film Akira since they were changing the setting, the characters and jettisoning 4/5th of the plot and story. The stories in Ghost In The Shell could, presumably, be set in any city, unlike Akira, where the setting was a character in its own right, but I have a hard time believing they could do Ghost in the Shell justice as a live action movie. They’d have to a lot of digital special effects to pull off all the stunts the cybernetic characters do, and if they don’t jettison the cyberpunk setting, they’d have to generate most of the settings digitally, too. And if that’s the case, why not just animate the whole damn thing in the first place. Oh. Right. They’ve already done that. So, basically, the whole idea is just a waste of time and resources. If this movie doesn’t vanish into a void like the Akira movie, I won’t be seeing it. As a fan of Ghost of the Shell, I’ll either read the manga again or watch the animation on DVD.

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