Fans have been clamoring for a live action adaptation of the manga series Ghost in the Shell for a very long time, and they are finally getting it next year. Though the producers of the film have come under fire for some of their casting choices, they are making a step in what seems to be the right direction. Rila Fukushima, who starred alongside Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine, has been added to the cast of the film.
The casting news comes from THR, though the report wasn't able to confirm who she will be playing. Scarlett Johansson is playing the character Kusanagi in the film, which is a casting choice that had many people very upset, as the character is supposed to be Asian. Paramount came under heavy fire for the choice and was accused of whitewashing. Things only got worse when it was reported that the studio had been experimenting with technology to make Johansson look more Asian.
Fukushima's casting is likely very welcomed, as she was a heavy favorite to take on the role that ultimately went to Johansson. The Japanese actress has some serious action chops on screen and should easily be able to handle anything asked of her in the film. In addition to her role in The Wolverine, she was also featured as the character Katana on The CW's Arrow. Unfortunately, the producers ultimately felt Johansson had more name recognition and a better ability to open up a big budget action movie. Most of the blame has been sent the studio's way, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D star Ming-Na Wen sharing some harsh words on Twitter about the situation.
"Nothing against Scarlett Johansson. In fact, I'm a big fan. But everything against this whitewashing of an Asian role."
The Ghost in the Shell movie is based on the very popular manga of the same name. The story follows Kusanagi (Johansson), a cyborg that is a part of an elite cybercrime-fighting task force known as Section 9. The series was originally published in 1989 and was written by Masamune Shirow. It is generally considered to be one of the best manga series ever published. That being the case, other adaptations of Ghost in the Shell have come before, with an animated series, spin off books and even a video game.
Ghost in the Shell is being directed by Snow White and the Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders with a script written by Jonathan Herman and Jamie Moss. In addition to Johansson and Fukushima, the cast of the film includes Michael Pitt, Peter Ferdinando and Juliette Binoche. The film is currently set for an April 14, 2017 release date.