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5 Minutes of ‘Ghost in the Shell’, and ‘GITS’ Anime Dir. Mamoru Oshii on Johansson Casting

Ghost in the Shell, Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures dropped a five-minute clip for the Scarlett Johansson-led Ghost in the Shell live-action movie online today. The clip is from the beginning of the film, and shows the robot Geisha scene that was glimpsed in the trailers. The scene shows Johansson’s ‘Major’ as she squares-off in a gunfight against some techno-thugs. Check out the clip below:

Johansson has some moves in Ghost in the Shell, and everything about this clip builds my anticipation for the film. Some critics of the film will not let the whitewashing controversy die. Mamoru Oshii, the original anime’s director, has words for those who think that an Asian woman should have been cast as the Major, in an interview with IGN:

“What issue could there possibly be with casting her? The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name ‘Motoko Kusanagi’ and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply. In the movies, John Wayne can play Genghis Khan, and Omar Sharif, an Arab, can play Doctor Zhivago, a Slav. It’s all just cinematic conventions. If that’s not allowed, then Darth Vader probably shouldn’t speak English, either. I believe having Scarlett play Motoko was the best possible casting for this movie. I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics.”

Ghost in the Shell, DreamWorks SKG
‘Ghost in the Shell’, starring Scarlett Johansson. Directed by Rupert Sanders. Image: DreamWorks SKG

This reinforces earlier comments that the film’s director, Rupert Sanders, said previously about the casting of Johansson with Screen Rant in which he said:

“To me, I cast very much from the gut and I think I was very lucky to be able to get an amazing international cast of people who I’ve always really wanted to work with… I stand by my decision – she’s the best actress of her generation, and was flattered and honored that she would be in this film. I think, certainly people who were around the original anime, have been vehemently in support of her because she’s incredible and there are very few like her.

She’s been a mind without a body, and a body without a mind… That’s really what drew me to her as The Major. She seemed to just inhabit that world so well. She did an incredible job of nuancing the human evolving through the machine, and in a way I think why it’s very relative to a large audience.”

Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Neat Takeshi Kitano, Michael Wincott, and Pilou Asbaek. It hits theaters on March 31.

Brad Repka

I am an avid lover of all things Movies, TV, Games, and delicious other randomness. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave comment!