Since the announcement of actress Scarlett Johansson for the title role of Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, there has been divisiveness amongst fans.
While some applauded the casting, others feel that not casting a Japanese actress is insulting, and yet another example of whitewashing characters of color.
Director of International Business for Kodansha's Tokyo headquarters commented on the casting, and how he views it an opportunity to bring new fans into the fold.
"Looking at her career so far, I think Scarlett Johansson is well cast," he said. "She has the cyberpunk feel. And we never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place." He added that the adaptation is offering an opportunity for a Japanese property to be seen worldwide. Yoshiba recently returned from the set of the film in New Zealand and said he was impressed by the respect the production was showing for the source material."
Casting aside, I'm hopeful that Paramount and Dreamworks are mindful of the source material, but they haven't gotten off to the best start. I actually believe that Johansson will be terrific in the role, but I understand where the naysayers are coming from, and I do believe there are some that will pay attention to the property solely because she is involved.