Back to IndieWire

First Look: Scarlett Johansson In Anime Adaptation ‘Ghost In The Shell’

First Look: Scarlett Johansson In Anime Adaptation ‘Ghost In The Shell’

We’ve moved. Our new home is over at THEPLAYLIST.NET. Please update your bookmarks and come on over to our new digs. Thanks for following us all these years, now follow us to our new house.

The #filmtwitter world is focused on France and the Cannes Film Festival announcement this morning, but there’s much more going on beyond the Croisette. Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures have announced that production has started on “Ghost In The Shell” starring Scarlett Johansson, and they’ve released the inaugural first look image from the movie.

Rupert Sanders (“Snow White And the Huntsman”) is directing the anime adaption, with lensing taking place in Wellington, New Zealand. Paramount Pictures will release the film in the U.S. on March 31, 2017. Press release details below.

READ MORE: Detailed And In Depth Video Essay Explores Identity And Space In ‘Ghost In The Shell’

The film, which is based on the famous Kodansha Comics manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow, is produced by Avi Arad (“THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1 & 2,” “IRON MAN”), Ari Arad (“GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE”), and Steven Paul (“GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE”). Michael Costigan (“PROMETHEUS”), Tetsu Fujimura (“TEKKEN”), Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, whose animation studio Production I.G produced the Japanese “GHOST IN THE SHELL” film and television series, and Jeffrey Silver (“EDGE OF TOMORROW,” “300”) will executive produce.

Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, “GHOST IN THE SHELL” follows the Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.

“We are so pleased to be in Wellington to shoot ‘GHOST IN THE SHELL,’” said producers Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Michael Costigan and Jeffrey Silver. “The city boasts state-of-the-art production facilities and a rich urban landscape that make it an ideal setting for a sci-fi action film. The crew-base in New Zealand working on the film is first class, and working with Sir Richard Taylor and the team at Weta Workshop is inspirational on every level. The people of New Zealand have been terrific partners in helping us bring this story and its beloved characters to audiences around the world and we are thankful for their continued hospitality.”

This Article is related to: News and tagged , , , , ,



Ugh, its so sickening I don’t even feel like saying anything. It’s a shame another incredible piece of media is going to be white washed and simplified for consumers to throw their cash at.


This is a level beyond regular hollywood whitewashing as well, this is actually straight up white supremacist. A japanese woman, close to death, given the opportunity to choose a replacement body for herself, chooses a caucasian one? nooooooooooooooope.


    Yes, as that is everyone’s dream


She looks awesome.


She looks bland. I dread to see Pilou as Batou.


This is sad, because it will be awful and prevent future anime adaptations from being made. Neither the director nor the producers inspire any confidence that they won’t butcher the source material into a bland superficial box office draw.


This and the Death Note film could be a disaster. Could mean troubled times for Naruto and anything else, like you said.
That or it could be like Dragonball, were it’s so awful that people actively forget about it and still keep on.


Um, the Major was originally a dude, who chose a woman’s body. And furthermore, she’s ASIAN, NOT SOME CHINGA PUTS WHITE WOMAN.


Puta, not puts…


Initially I thought "How great will it be if they don’t screw this up"….But then I remembered that the original was perfection. I’m not a purist, but there wasn’t any flab on the original work. If they’re not extending the G.I.T.S storyline in a different medium then it’s only accomplishment can be to bring a degraded version of the story…I don’t think the Hollywood business model has any real shot at the philosophy surrounding cybernetics…I’ll pay the money to watch ScarJo pew pew in a catsuit, I’d have to be crazy or a french millionaire to not do that.

Heather Flinklesteinberg

See what I don’t understand is that it is a film adaptation of the creators view. Just like in Japan they make their own versions of Americans in their anime. So since when does a film have to be everything the anime was? To me what’s more disgusting is seeing people like you guys only seeing race and having an issue with artistic integrity. Welcome to the world Trump Jrs.


"lensing"… the fastest way to sound like a filmmaker wannabe


and "CUBE", did you not notice when that happened in the original film?


incoming neckbeard comments about how great the original was and scarlett is going to suck.


someone please stop this unholy abomination

This is crap

This movie is gonna blow so bad


Love the anime. Really like Scarlett Johansson. Hate that they felt the need to whitewash here.


The person above who references a japanese woman close to death etc etc obviously hasn’t even seen Ghost in the Shell. Matoko Kusanagi never had a physical body, that’s what makes her special, she’s been a cyborg her entire life. Thanks for pushing your own agenda in the comments section, you blithering idiot.


There’s really on way to save this trainwreck, so hopefully it’s a CGI fireworks show of a tricked out cyborg future


QUE PUTO ASCO! pinches adapciones greengas del buen anime.


While I do find Scarlett to be both very attractive and a very good actress, this is just not a part she should be playing, they really should have gotten a Japanese(preferably) or Korean actress for this.

John petty

She looks awesome hopefully it will be good!

Pete B

i WAS looking forward to this, but the more that comes out about it, the more ill i feel.


She looks bored af.


@ENVY @CUBE I’m pretty sure that in the original she was white too. It is not ‘straight up white supremacist’. Watch the original and if you don’t like this don’t watch it. Is that so damn hard? SJW complain about everything.


Well wouldn’t have to use white actors if there was a decent asian one that fit the bill but look at that there is none. So yes keep complaining because others arnt stepping up where white people are.


Do you guys realize that she doesn’t even look Asian in the anime?
You guys are so retarded.

It’s a shell. Motoko can look however she wants…she can change bodies…

And, actually, I think Scarlett looks more like Motoko than a Japanese woman would….because Motoko doesn’t look Asian in the anime!

And what about all the "Japanese-washing" the Japanese do in their movies?
Have you even seen the Attack on Titan movies??!!


@EVAN uhhh…. Blade Runner…?

shippou chan

tell me 1 (one) anime where characters are asian! bleach? nope… naruto? nope… fairy tail? nope… GITS? nope… One Piece? nope… dragon ball? nope… macross saga? nope… gundam saga? nope… not even in Leiji Matsumoro’s work you do not find asian types… and japanese live action of yamato is total wreck. i think let’s wait and see.


The film is "based on" Ghost in the Shell. I fail to see how this qualifies as "whitewashing" anymore than adapting any other manga comic/anime into a live action film. They haven’t even announced what character she is portraying.


Only because you see it that way, Cube. Would you freak out equally if she was a japanese woman who decided to be white?

F Hollywood

REALLY now? ScarJo plays Japanese woman MOTOKO KUSANAGI. That’s great. That’s like when Justin Chatwin played Goku. Just fkin great.


If people don’t know the story to ghost in the shell, shouldn’t talk about white washing or anything near. Take your sjw complaining somewhere else. Focus on the story and the narrative, not the race of the actors, racists.

Super Health Club



ScarJo looks sexy in this, and I’m gonna enjoy seeing how it plays out. Let the weebs weep.


Anime *is* the process of whitewashing. 90% of the design is based off stylized concepts of white people.


Hey, Rodrigo. Look up the definition of "inaugural" and then decide if this makes sense: "they’ve released the inaugural first look image from the movie."


Is it really that hard to find an Asian female lead to play Motoko Kusanagi in this day and age? Hopefully this isn’t another The Last Air Bender and Dragon Ball white-washing for the western palate. They better screw this up, GITS is a classic.


Oh look its the regulars getting upset that someone was not played by an asian. While they have no problem when captain america is replaced with a black, nick fury is replaced with a black, hulk is replaced with an asian, thor is replaced with a women, wolverine is replaced with a women.


But the issue is she’s still called by the Japanese name. And the movie is going to feature Japanese actors in the roles that aren’t Motoko, Batou and the Laughing Man. The next worst thing could be setting the story in Japan.
It just feels like the wrong attitude towards some really amazing material. I usually don’t care about this crying of whitewashing, like the Death Note version doesn’t matter to me because it’s going to be Amwricanized. A lot.
But this one needs to be Japanese centric. Just like Akira.


She’s an acress, why bring skin color into it? We had a black Annie, and it was fine. Who cares?

Doesn't Matter

I am going to continue to pretend that this production doesn’t exist and the most recent GiTS is the latest anime.


RIP Kusanagi. Hollywood, "your desire to remain what you are is what limits you"


This is embarrassingly bad.


She looks so bad I audibly laughed out loud! Why do some white people carry this delusion they can play as anime characters? Good job as "Goku" too lmao


Just stop making live action anime adoptions, every time it turns something with rich culture and great cinematics into boring, awkward, trash

Alex Scholtz

Whitewashing ghost in the shell is a racist travesty. Please boycott this film.

Avi Arad Shecklestein

Ridiculous. Boycott this trash.


This film is literally the work of neo-nazis. How can Hollywood get away with this? You’re literally killing Japanese people! I can hear them screaming for help in the streets! Bodies are being burned en-masse, there are children crying on every corner! Oh wait no it’s just another terrible anime adaption harming absolutely no one.


Just like old boy, eh Cube?


There is nothing remotely unique or even interesting about this photo. Look I love Scarlett, but this white washing BS needs to stop. I know its a business but this getting out of control in that it is robbing an opportunity for an Asian actress to make her mark. Hollywood needs new faces dammit! I don’t care if it scores an RT score 0f 100% fresh, I will not support this film with my dollars.


Kusanagi Motoko was not one of a kind. In the GITS universe many people have replaced their bodies with cyberbodies. Kusanagi is also not a hybrid, she is simply a person who hs undergone full cyberisation, again, fairly common. All other members of section 9 have been cyberised to some extent, with Togusa and Saito the least cyberised. GEt it right Hollywood!


The celebrity worshiping sheep unfamiliar with the original will likely flock to the movie to be sheared of their money. So disappointing………


White washing? I do believe L is british and yet he was played by a japanese in the death note live action.

Sumyung Gai

Might as well cast someone of color so it ain’t racist against asian based stuff. Perhaps Morgan Freeman bcuz everyone loves him.


is making "Snow White And the Huntsman" a credential for anything?

this doesn’t seem too promising… I’ll stick with the original, don’t really need a live action adaptation…


Uh, really? ScarJo, huh? God damnit, Hollywood. Why are you so afraid of having leading Asian actors?


So they’re destroying one of my all time favorite anime/manga on my birthday, this just got personal!


A high school graduate taking in the role of the major who leads a military intelligence international force in the near future in which information and use of information to create and destroy life has dissolved the clear line between military and civilian lives. Yup…. Hollywood is gonna make use puke again while attracting the cockroach human animals to gawk over USA movie star names and sexual appeal and wish they too can be geniuses. Disgusting. Truly disgusting.


Nope. This is crap. Why? Like literally, why does this need to be a white person? I’m white. It’s not like I wouldn’t have seen the movie if it was staring a Japanese actress. I won’t see it now.

Craig Stone

Kevin Nash would have made a far better Batou:
– Right hair color
– Right voice
– Right build
– Right height
– He even looks badass firing big guns


Batou should be Arnold Schwarzenegger, Togusa should be Christian Bale, and the Director should be Larry David.


its sad that the first couple of comments on this are irrelevant racism.


Don’t listen to these Leftist shill-pieces. This movie is going to be one of the best Paramount has published in many years, will turn People onto the actual Show itself, thus extending the fanbase.


absolutely disgusting whitewashing. shame on hollywood


Great news ! But the plot described is far from the Puppet Master story. Let’s cross finger…


This looks to be a contender for worst anime adaptation, possibly knocking Dragonball Evolution off its throne. Can’t wait to come up with a cringe moment drinking game for it.


why do they even need to ruin such a good franchize? The actress playing the Mayot should have been buffier and taller if you ask me,anyway I wait for the moment of the truth and I will instead watch the anime again.




Usually I’m pretty reasonable about media, but I can’t see this being anything other than utterly horrible. GitS deserves better


Really, Cube? It’s an adaption, plain and simple. Not white supremacist. Get off your elitist high horse and maybe wait till you actually know what the movie is like before you make wild, baseless and racist assumptions.


Looks good so far. I’m not concerned about the whitewashing. If this film does well perhaps we’ll finally see a live action Akira. :)


Uh oh here come the weeaboos and SJWs to complain about a movie that doesn’t matter.


shes not a human cyborg hybrid, the character is a full cyborge with a ‘ghost’ (soul) and in cannon i actually an amalgamation of several entities, one being a purely artificial construct. bit dissapointed at the image as id expect a flawless skin look as its all artificial. scarjo looks too ‘real’. i doubt shes going to lez up like in the original comic. getting the scale of men against her small femail form is going to be a real challenge.

Ron Tydell

Great… The exact opposite person I wanted to play the Major…


I think it looks promising.


If you don’t like so called "whitewashing" and want a movie with asian actors, make your own goddamn movie and stop complaining about how the mainstream media doesn’t pander towards your personal preferences and views on things like that. Jesus Christ, some people.


This sucks! The media is RUINING….RUINING anime with live action movies… like leave it to the people who made it. Get asain actors and follow the story line! She looks stupid in that wig, and its freakin annoying.


@CUBE You’re being optimistic that she’s even japanese. I’m still expecting her to be American and all references to the "American Empire" erased.


This movie is going to be terrible.


If they insisted to use American actors, they at least could of just set the damn thing in the same universe, but in America with an orignal american characters and have Makoto (Played by a Jap Actress) in a liaison role.


This casting is complete and utter BS. Motoko should be Japanese, or at the very least Asian. The whitewashing on display with this movie seems to be about as bad as The Last Airbender. And we all know how that turned out…

"Um, the Major was originally a dude, who chose a woman’s body."

Um, what? No. Just…no. Not in the manga, the movies, or Stand Alone Complex. Motoko was originally female and chose a female body in all of those continuities. I have no idea what they decided to do in Arise because I couldn’t get through more than 2 episodes of that monstrosity.

What’s unclear is what her original name was. She’s either forgotten it or has been so many different people that it no longer matters. However, her original body was definitely female. As a cyborg, she controls multiple androids and gynoids from her main body, which is female just like her original body was.

I think you’re confusing the Major with the Puppeteer. The Puppeteer chose a gynoid as its main body. Motoko, on the other hand, has always been female. It’s unclear what she becomes after merging with the Puppeteer.


If I could choose to look like Scarlett Johansson in a cyborg body, I’d straight-up shoot myself right now.


Its not like the character in the manga or anime ever "looks" particularly Japanese, either.

Kilyén Balázs

I DONT get you people. If you moan about the actor you dont get the whole point of the FAKKING ANIME at ALL ! just look at the anime and realize, its trying to say to you ! Body wont matter. He/she might be even male inside, because he has a robotic body. It wont matter how he looks, all that matters is the thing that makes her what she is.


You all belong on garbage island. Stfu and wait for the movie to come out. While you wait, you can read the amazing manga and watch all the films and animé series. Only then can you judge.


Yeah! Lets all get our panties in a twist about whitewashing an anime where one of the central themes is the separation of the physical body from one’s mind/identity.


I hope this is a joke


Its people lije you all that keep racial tension up in this country. Bet you all wouldn’t say a thing is her skin color was anything other then white. In my opinion i think johansson will make a good major. It has nothing to do with the color of her skin it has everything to do with its just the style of movies she does. And i think she does well in a sci fi movie


Hey look, another whitewashed Hollywood casting job. #HollywoodSoWhite #TheWhitening


Is there an English word for seeing two things you absolutely love combining into something absolutely horrible?


    Yes there is an English word for combining two things you absolutely love into something you absolutely hate. “Snowflake”


Wrong move. You don’t just mess around with Ghost in the Shell. What are the japanese thinking, giving americans the right to do these atrocities?
I guess the japanese deserve all of this, because they have sold their souls and pride to the americans. "If it is american then it is certainly good". Grow some kintama japan! Have some pride in yourselves! Stop selling your product of labor to unworthy people who know no respect to your work! I’m tired of seeing despicable, clueless american adaptations of eastern creations. Stop this nonsense!

Evan Rowley

We already know Motoko can choose any kind of body she likes. She’ll operate multiple bodies at the same time. Sometimes she even operates other bodies unknowingly. It is possible Motoko could choose an "American" body to penetrate The American Empire. Sort of Behind Enemy Lines style.

Evan Rowley

I hope Hollywood will surprise us by framing it in a way that makes logical sense, but that is asking for A LOT.


CUBE, you obviously aren’t even a fan since you don’t know the history of Kusanagi. So what’s your opinion worth? Absolutely nothing.


How is this white supremacist? Nobody hates specifically Japanese people enough just to not give them a role, solely based on NATIONALITY issue. Grow up, they just want to give people a big name actor to star in their movie and bring in the cash. Im sure if they could have found an as big of name Japanese actor to fill her spot.


Ok all you racist fuckers can go Piss Off. Ya’ll know nothing of this series so go back to chewing your crayons and licking windows. "WHITEWASHING", "She chooses Caucasian" racist pukes.


Ghost in the Shell actually contains three movies, two seasons of a television show, and a still-in-production second series with a different take on the original manga storyline.


This is fucking disgusting.


Yeah, how DARE an American film cast an American actor with huge box office draw in an attempt to win back huge Box Office for its investment!

This almost makes me as sick as the "yellow washing" that happens in Asian cinema. I’ve been watching Asian cinema for years now and almost NEVER see an American face anywhere! How unbelievable racists those Asian filmmakers are for not casting white people in their movies!!!


For those of you freaking out about a Caucasian lead…. The major has a Caucasian cyborg body in the original GITS. Also…. Who cares?


Love Scarlett Johansson, but this movie is going to suck big time, shouldn’t touch originals, unless they are going to be faithful. Should be Japanese cast, same as the original, Major was and never is caucasian, so stupid!


Please don’t. Just stop now before it’s too late. You are raping the existence of these glorious titles




No. I……. just no. No. No. No. No. No.


Oh, god, this looks terrible. SJ looks horrendous in that wig. And who, in what preposterous world, looked at Major Kusanagi (a decidedly Demi Moore type, if anything) and thought Scarlett Johansson would be a good fit for the role? Are there no more Japanese left in the world? Where is this going to be set, if not in Tokyo? But the worst thing of all is that somebody had the bright idea to let Rupert Sanders direct it. Rupert Sanders to remake something by Mamoru Oshii! Haha! This is going to be a massacre.


It bums me out that Johansson would take this role and not pass it along to a deserving Asian actress. There are many perfect fits.


… As much as I like Scarlett Johansson, this is a big nope for me it looks boring and the actress really should be Japanese..


Let me revise **she looks boring


This movie is going to suck because 1) It insults Asian people and 2) It insults the fans of anime and GITS, and therefore nobody is going to care for it very much. At this point, Scarlett in the lead role as Kusanagi is just awkward and weird. Yuck.


This is the only part of the franchise that i have no interest in al all. More whitewashed garbage from Hollyweird.


Disappointing doesn’t really do justice to how I feel about this. It’s not the casting that bothers me so much as the presumptiveness of the hollywood system. I’m mean how would they know if an audience wouldn’t be receptive and support this film with an asian lead? GITS is a global cult film that help define the genre of anime and science fiction cinema. It’s not like they are introducing this story to a "New Generation". Everyone nows this film at least those who are a fan of the genre. From an artistic perspective I can’t understand why any self respecting director, screenwriter or producer would allow this film to be representative of anything other than the original source material. We don’t need an homage, remake or retelling of GITS. Just making a live version would’ve been groundbreaking enough to bring audiences flocking to the theatre. It’s not like the film isn’t going to blue ray/streaming on iTunes 2 1/2 months after release anyway. Who are they making this film for if not the fans of this remarkable film? I’m also getting to the point where I’m not for A-list actors taking these role anymore either. It’s not like they need the money and they aren’t adding anything unique t the roles either. Give them to the up in coming actor’s who are more hungry and pure in their approach to the craft and will respect it. Look at the success of Ex-Machina.


So kool. I can’t wait to see this. And awesome that she will play the lead character. *thumbs up*


This is disgusting. A Japanese character being given to a white actress why? There is no good reason for this. Rather watch the original than pay money for this racist garbage. I like ScaJo, but I’m boycotting and I hope many others do, too.

Dixie Flatline

"Human cyborg hybrid", huh?

Luke Deveau

So which one of you white knights is going to fly into a frenzy when an Asian or Indian studio remakes an American film with all non white actors? That’s what I thought.


I’m curious to those who don’t like the casting, whom would you have chosen? What English-speaking Japanese actress with enough box office draw would you have chosen?

Raul Almquist


Oh wait a minute, that would make too much sense, after all there are a hell of a LOT OF ASIAN ACTORS AND ACTRESSES WHO ARE NOT GETTING VERY MANY MEATY PARTS, and here is one made for an ASIAN which instead is going to someone who will look somewhat Asian due to SPECIAL EFFECTS!

What’s wrong, couldn’t you pick someone out of the several THOUSAND ASIAN ACTRESSES AVAILABLE FOR THIS PART WHICH REALLY CALLS FOR A REAL ASIAN?!?

Who the HELL made this decision? A BOX OF ROCKS?!?



What’s next, going back to light-skinned actors playing dark-skinned parts were the digital equivalent of BLACK-FACE!!!


Depeche Mode 47

Welcome to the new world, where even Made In Japan is no longer true.

Duder NME

"The Major"??? Oh brother. I suppose Motoko Kusunagi was too on the nose for Hollywash. Lemme guess, the bad guys are Asian (not just Japanese). This is Aeon Flux all over again.

Pingback: URL

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *