Back in April, fans got their first look at Scarlett Johansson on the set of Ghost in the Shell, as production began in New Zealand. The image raised quite a bit of controversy, with fans calling out the production for casting Scarlett Johansson as Kusanagi, a character portrayed in the original manga as a Japanese woman. While the controversy has died down somewhat in the months that followed, production still continues, and today we have a new look at the actress in costume, along with director Rupert Sanders.
The photo comes from Production I.G's Twitter, which features the actress and director alongside Mamoru Oshii, Kenji Jamiyama, and Kenji Kawaii. Production I.G. is the production company behind several of the previous Ghost in the Shell adaptations, with Mamoru Oshii directing the animated adaptations Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and Ghost in the Shell 2.0, all of which were scored by Kenji Kawaii. Kenji Jamiyama also has a long history with the franchise, having directed the beloved animated series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and the 3D animated movie Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society 3D.
It's possible that this photo was released to alleviate some of the fans' concerns about this live action adaptation, especially after reports surfaced that the production tried to make Scarlett Johansson look "more Asian." It doesn't seem that Mamoru Oshii, Kenji Jamiyama, and Kenji Kawaii are involved in the production in any official capacity, but their endorsement could go a long way towards building up support for this adaptation before it hits theaters next year. Just last week, producer Steven Paul defended casting actress Scarlett Johnasson, while revealing that she will not be known as Kusunagi, and simply a character called "The Major."
The story centers on The Major, a special ops cyborg who leads a counter-cyberterrorist organization called Public Security Section 9 for Hanka Robotics. The Major and her team will set out to stop some of the most dangerous criminals in the world, led by the extremist The Laughing Man, played by Sam Riley. This villain will stop at nothing to destroy the Hanka organization and the man's advancements in cyber technology.
The supporting cast also includes Pilou Asbaek, Rila Fukushima, Michael Pitt, Peter Ferdinando and Juliette Binoche. Rupert Sanders directs from a script by Jonathan Herman, based on Masamune Shirow's original Kodansha Comics manga. The adaptation is currently set for release on March 31, 2017, so stay tuned for more updates on Ghost in the Shell. In the meantime, take a look at this new set photo below.