Ghost in the Shell Movie Starring Scarlett Johansson Starts Filming in 2016

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

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Ghost in the Shell - Kusanagi

The casting of Scarlett Johansson as the main character of the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie has been controversial to say the least. Hollywood has a nasty history of whitewashing roles which could often be played by less represented groups. This isn’t even the first time it’s happened with anime adaptations. Speed Racer and Dragon Ball: Evolution both had primarily white casts. (Though Speed Racer at least is actually a pretty awesome movie) For many, this is another point in that trend, forsaking the roots and culture of the material.

Regardless of the outcry of fans and advocates for diverse representation, it seems like the film is moving forward. Scarlett Johansson said, “It’s happening. It will be shooting the beginning of next year, so I think we start production January or February and it’s me and Rupert [Sanders], and that’s all I know.”

The film has been in the works for six years but this seems to confirm that the film is going to go into production with a white woman in the lead role of the character named Motoko Kusanagi, unless the internet petitions change the producer’s minds.

Personally speaking, I’ve been a big fan of Ghost in the Shell since it began airing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. As a fan, I’d love to see the franchise receive wider western exposure. However, if the trade-off is a film that ignores the heritage of its creators and has to change its main character to appease some audience that would be frightened off by any protagonist that wasn’t lily white, I can’t see this movie exposing people to the manga and anime that I grew to love.


About Jerry Hrechka

Jerry Hrechka is a writer and journalist. He was born in the Catskill mountains and now resides in Georgia, still trying to work out how exactly that happened. His work can also be found on as well as on his horror podcast 1001 Frights.

  • Go2hell66

    I’m sure there are plenty of talented asian actresses who could have played the role

    • Lord Ackercocke


  • Razorfall

    This is going to be garbage. I don’t want it to be. I really wish that it won’t be. But it will, and that is sad.

  • Guest

    What does race have to do with anything? Is this site really gonna go down this path?

    I’m posting as a guest because I know asking is gonna get me mean emails.

    • Lord Ackercocke

      Because the main character is not white and there’s plenty Asian actresses that could have been chosen.

    • Guest

      And? Should we, non casting directors, just rethink every single white actress choice from now on? It’s not about race. Hollywood casts based on who think will sell the movie. This was their choice, and I’m not saying its good or bad.

      I’m really annoyed though at how heavily opinionated this article is. I’m a long time reader here, and its really sad to see such a blatant blog post.

    • Razorfall

      It’s not exactly about race. Some people are purists and want the adaptation to be as close to the original as possible.

  • Gemnist

    Since there are numerous alternate versions of Motoko, this shouldn’t be THAT big of an issue (besides, it’s unconfirmed if Johanssen will even play Motoko or an Americanized counterpart, like Edge of Tomorrow’s Bill Cage). It all comes down to whether or not it’s a good movie – but considering other manga adaptations and the fact that Rupert Sanders of Snow White and the Huntsman fame is directing, this probably won’t exactly be the best thing to see. I still find it hilarious, though, that the Wachowskis – who made the Speed Racer movie – were actually ripping off this series a bit with… the Matrix trilogy.
    You know what manga/anime American film adaptation I’d actually love to see? Attack on Titan, hands down. Why? Because there’s only one Oriental character, it’s got a gripping narrative, and in terms of style it’s very grounded to reality.

  • Jeremy Collum

    i get the feeling this will probably be a bad movie, partly because of the results we’ve have so far with hollywood trying to adapt anime to live action and on a more personal level because i’m one of the few people in the world who doesn’t like ghost in the shell

    in regards to the actress selection when referenced to the original ghost in the shell movie if johansson is playing as motoko it is both accurate and in-accurate in a few different ways