Though it took longer than you might have expected, fans have finally gotten around to petitioning DreamWorks Studios' decision to cast Scarlett Johansson as the lead in their live action adaptation of the 1995 anime film Ghost in the Shell.
The lead character in the original Ghost in the Shell is Motoko Kusanagi, and Asian woman. The petitioners feel that casting Johansson is whitewashing an Asian character.
Fans of the iconic 1995 animated Japanese sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell have been anticipating a live-action remake for years – but now, instead of casting an Asian actress, Dreamworks has selected Scarlett Johansson for the lead role! The film revolves around Major Motoko Kusanagi, a member of a futuristic security force tasked with tracking a mysterious hacker.
The original film is set in Japan, and the major cast members are Japanese. So why would the American remake star a white actress? The industry is already unfriendly to Asian actors without roles in major films being changed to exclude them. One recent survey found that in 2013, Asian characters made up only 4.4% of speaking roles in top-grossing Hollywood films.
Dreamworks could be using this film to help provide opportunities for Asian-American actors in a market with few opportunities for them to shine – please sign the petition asking them to reconsider casting Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell and select actors who are truer to the cast of the original film!
You can go to the website and sign the petition. I've written previously about why Johansson is a poor choice for the role, but if comic book movies have taught us anything its that fans of the original source material are only a small fraction of a big budget, live action film's target audience.
Ghost in the Shell is scheduled for release on April 14, 2017.