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Scarlett Johansson Steals Starring Role in Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell is getting the live-action treatment, according to Variety, and its lead is bankable starlet Scarlett Johansson! Sex, cyberpunk, and hacking–sign me up, please.

The anime geek in me is stoked at getting more in the franchise 20 years after the original animated film. But the Black and Asian pride in me are taking a hit. Another character turned White.

I am disappointed–heck, even a tad bit angry–but not surprised since it’s Hollywood. They Whitewash everything. Character’s supposed to be a bad-ass Japanese hacker named Motoko Kusanagi? Let’s cast a White New Yorker instead. The more i think about it the more it irks me. There is already a dearth of mainstream characters of colour in Hollywood, heck in any mainstream entertainment, and when a popular anime/manga series is approved for live-action, the lead is Whitewashed. Fair-skinned Asian character or historical person? You can (and most certainly will) be transformed into a Caucasian. They tried to do that to another beloved anime, Akira, but George Takei made sure it never happened.

I get Johansson’s latest action flick Lucy was a box office success and audiences love her portrayal of Black Widow in the Avengers movies so they want to capitalize on her appeal and prior success, but come on! Give a Japanese actress a shot to lead this franchise. Hell, i would be content with any Asian actress to star over Johansson. Hopefully and unfortunately the consolation prize will be casting Kusanagi’s squad like a United Colors of Benetton ad.

Being one helluva actress and beautiful (a combo which makes me swoon), plus it’s Ghost in the Shell, i’m sure i’ll watch the movie. And i’m even more sure i won’t be supporting at the theaters, though. I rarely go. Maybe twice a year at most.

I’ll take a live action Ghost in the Shell as a win. Just not won in the way i would have liked. Sigh.

[Update: 2018.11.12 – Never saw it. As it approached, became more irked by it. I refuse to watch any egregious whitewashed movie.]