Paramount's Ghost in the Shell adaptation has had no shortage of controversy, with a number of fans speaking out against the "whitewashed" casting of Scarlett Johansson. In the original manga and the hit animated movies, the main character Major Kusanagi was portrayed as an Asian female, but it seems the director of those hit films is on board with this new project. A new preview has debuted featuring anime director Mamoru Oshii, who is seen praising this live action adaptation.
Back in June, Production I.G., the production company behind the Ghost in the Shell animated films, shared a photo from the set that featured Scarlett Johansson and director Rupert Sanders with three men who are very important to the franchise. The photo featured Mamoru Oshii, who directed Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and Ghost in the Shell 2.0, Kenji Kawaii, who composed the score for those films, and Kenji Jamiyama, who directed the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex animtated series and the 3D animated movie Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society 3D. Paramount Pictures debuted this new preview, where Mamoru Oshii praises Scarlett Johansson's work, stating she has gone "above and beyond" his expectations.
We also hear from director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman), who spoke about Mamoru Oshii's visit, while producer Michael Costigan states the movie sticks very close to the source material. We also hear from Scarlet Johansson herself, who states that Rupert Sanders is a "visionary" and that she's never had an experience like this before while making a movie. While this featurette doesn't directly address the "whitewashing" controversy, the endorsement of Mamoru Oshii may go a long way with hardcore fans.
Producer Steven Paul revealed in July that he thinks longtime fans of the manga and the anime movies will be pleased with Scarlett Johansson's performance in Ghost in the Shell. He also clarified that her character is not Major Kusangi from the manga, but a character simply known as The Major. Whether or not the fans of the series will get behind this controversial casting remains to be seen, but there is still plenty of time for the fans to get on board.
Scarlett Johansson is joined by an ensemble cast that also includes Beat Takeshi Kitano as Daisuke Aramaki, Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet, Michael Pitt as Kuze, Pilou Asbaek as Batou, Michael Wincott and Kaori Momoi. The members of Section 9 are played by Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara and Tuwanda Manyimo. Paramount has set a March 31, 2017 release date for Ghost in the Shell, putting it up against Focus Features' The Zookeeper's Wife and 20th Century Fox's The Boss Baby. Take a look at this new preview from Ghost in the Shell.