The second trailer dropped on Feb. 13 to mixed reviews. "Ghost in the Shell" tells the story of a cyborg policewoman who works (and kicks ass) to stop an evil computer hacker, according to IMDB. The remake is slated for wide theatrical release on Friday, March 31. But with mixed reviews surrounding the film and the casting—it might not do too well.
The controversy will definitely not blew over. Critics are sick and tired of not only the lack of Asian representation in Hollywood films, but the whitewashing of Asian-influenced narratives. There's so much Asian talent. Utilize it!
But white actors are given roles meant for actors of color all the time because Hollywood still believes only white actors can put butts in seats. But films like "Gods and Egypt" tanked because of the lack of proper representation. "Ghost in the Shell" might be headed down that path.
The studio may also believe it offers a little more box office security with Johansson in the role. But given the significance of this particular role and property, I am disappointed that an Asian or Asian-American actor was not given the lead role. On a personal level, I have less interest in this movie because of Johansson’s involvement, and I’m actually a fan of her work.
Director Rupert Sanders argues Johansson was his only choice and the best fit for the role. The original character's name is Major Motoko Kusanagi. In the film, the character's name is shortened to The Major. Supporters argue the character looks racially ambiguous, but the work and culture in the original film and remake is Japanese. Hmm....
Johansson spoke with Marie Claire and responded to the controversy:
I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that—the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.
Many are dissatisfied with her response. Still, others are satisfied with how visually-stunning the film looks.
The trailer looks pretty kickass to some moviegoers.
The new #GhostInTheShell trailer has finally sold me on this movie. I'm really rooting for Scarlett Johansson despite the white-washing.