Variety is reporting that Scarlett Johansson has officially signed on to star in Dreamwork's live action adaptation of the Japanese animated film Ghost in the Shell. The film is based on Shirow Masamune's cyberpunk manga of the same name.
Ghost in the Shell follows Section 9, a branch of the Japanese National Public Safety Comission that combat cybercrime and cyberterrorism. The team's field leader is Commander Motoko Kusanagi. While almost all of the members of Section 9 have cybernetic implants, Kusanagi has replaced her entire original body with one that is fully artificial.
The film and manga, which has also been adapted into anime, deals with existential questions of what it means to be human in a world that is increasingly dependent on technology. It also has insane cyborg vs. robot action scenes.
Margot Robbie was reportedly being eyed for the role originally, but commitments to Suicide Squad are said to have taken her out of the running.
With Ghost in the Shell, Johansson is expanding her visibility as an action star, which began with her role as Marvel Studio's Black Widow, and was taken further with last year's Lucy.
Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders has signed on to direct Ghost in the Shell.
According to Variety, the film has still not been officially greenlit, but Dreamworks head Steven Spielberg, said to be huge fan of the original film, is hoping that Johansson's star power will help put those gears in motion.