It may be one of the most publicised ‘whitewashing’ controversies in Hollywood, but it hasn’t stopped ‘Ghost in the Shell’ from generating a lot of buzz.
The film’s star, Scarlett Johansson (who also plays Marvel’s Black Widow), introduces the first proper trailer for the anime adaptation, which looks stylish to say the least.
The movie adaptation from Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 acclaimed anime was originally a manga that was serialised back in 1989. Oshii wrote and directed the film that’s become something of a staple classic amongst anime fans, so naturally there were some ruffled feathers when the live-action version was announced.
However, the biggest controversy was casting Johansson as the lead role of The Major. Many people criticised the decision for a Caucasian actor to play the role designed and written as an Asian character, leading to condemnation of Hollywood’s increasing efforts to ‘whitewash’ productions.
Check out the full trailer below.
Logistical changes have obviously been made, such as putting Johansson in a nude body suit whereas the character is naked in the original. But as a whole the new footage looks exciting enough to at least whet the appetite of existing (and even sceptical) fans. Although we suspect long-time admirers of the franchise will still need some convincing.
Other films to come under pressure includes Matt Damon’s ‘The Great Wall’ and Disney’s upcoming live-action ‘Mulan’, where white saviours are thrown into the story to be the hero, regardless of its Asian setting or historical accuracy.
While the production defends its choice to use well-known Johansson to front the film, it says there will be a largely Asian cast that make up the supporting roles, even though the likes of Michael Wincott, Juliette Binoche, and Michael Pitt feature.
Despite the mixed feelings behind it, the footage, for the most part, looks impressive. Stunning Tokyo backdrops and a futuristic, sci-fi aesthetic certainly add intrigue to the live-action story. Whether it’ll live up to the original and satisfy fans is another matter entirely.
‘Ghost in the Shell’ is in UK cinemas on 31 March, 2017.
Picture credit: Paramount Pictures