If you've been anywhere near a computer or a smart device in the last few years, you've heard about the hot button issue that is "Hollywood Whitewashing." It's been a buzzing trend a lot lately, and the latest project to draw the ire of the people who care about that sort of thing is GHOST IN THE SHELL. Based on the Japanese manga by the same name, the film is set to star the very caucasian Scarlett Johansson, and people. are. PISSED.
Perhaps in a bit of ingenious damage control, the crew behind this new live-action GHOST IN THE SHELL recently called in some giants from the property's past to help smooth things over. Production I.G. recently tweeted a photo that revealed that Mamoru Oshii, Kenji Kamiyama, and Kenji Kawaii had all visited the Hong Kong set of GHOST IN THE SHELL. Oshii directed a revered trilogy of animated film based on the manga, Kawaii scored all three, and Kamiyama was the writer-director behind a popular TV series adaptation from a few years back.
One can't help but hope that this image, and the effusive caption included with it- which touts the film's "respect towards" the work of these Japanese artists that have helped shape the GHOST IN THE SHELL mythos- will help silence some of the naysayers. In other words, if these people approve of this production, maybe you should pipe down and give it a chance.
I imagine that's what they're going for.
One of the big stories last year was how GODS OF EGYPT was dogged by cries of whitewashing for months leading up to its release, which culminated in the film being a major flop. It's likely that the makers of GHOST IN THE SHELL saw that, learned from it, and want to do everything they can to get out in front of the negative publicity. Anything short of firing the top-grossing actress in Hollywood history and replacing her with an untested Asian actress, of course.
The rest of the film's cast includes a bevy of Japanese talent in supporting roles, and more. Included are names like Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine), Beat Takeshi Kitano (Battle Royale), Kaori Momoi (Memoirs of a Geisha), Chin Han (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Danusia Samal (Tyrant), Lasarus Ratuere (Terra Nova), Yutaka Izumihara (The Wolverine), Tuwanda Manyimo (The Rover), Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria), Michael Pitt (Hannibal), and Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones).
GHOST IN THE SHELL is slated to arrive in a theater near you on March 31, 2017.