Ghost in the Shell finally made its way to the U.S. this year when Hollywood’s live-action take on the series premiered. While the film cannot be counted as one of the industry’s worst anime adaptations, critics and fans had mixed feelings over the film. The topic of casting became a very controversially one amongst fans, but one of Ghost in the Shell’s most iconic directors has no issues with that front.
Recently, Kodansha Comics did a roundtable interview with some of Ghost in the Shell’s most famous creators. Mamoru Oshii, who directed its 1995 anime feature, met up with Kenji Kamiyama and Kazuchika Kise to talk about the franchise’s legacy. When Ghost in the Shell’s live-action movie was brought up, Oshii said he thought Scarlett Johansson was the right choice to play Motoko.
“Yes,” Oshii answered when asked if he agreed with the casting. “I first heard about doing a live-action version almost ten years ago. It’s been a long road since then, but to be honest, it seemed like someone would do it eventually, and I admit I was concerned about who would play Motoko.”
“I think Scarlett Johansson is about the best person they could have cast for the part, and I’m happy to be able to say that I have no objection to that choice,” the director added.
Two of the directors were also asked about the time they spent on the film’s set. Kamiyama said he was impressed by the scale of the project, but Oshii admits he was a bit puzzled over why Hollywood does so many takes.
“I was a little surprised, too, by the way Hollywood does filming — how they’ll do the same scene take after take," he said. "They were doing a shot of someone walking into a store, and I thought they were going to be at it all night. I have no idea what was wrong that they wanted to repeat it so many times.”
Hollywood’s style differs from the Japanese film industry, but it seems the U.S. wants to tap into the latter’s pool of stories. There are more than half a dozen live-action anime projects in development within Hollywood, so it is just a matter of time until one of them finds the perfect formula. Ghost in the Shell is a stepping stone to that undiscovered territory, and it doesn’t look like Oshii is totally mad about what the film mapped out.