This week anime enthusiasts had their first glimpse of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in the Western adaptation of the manga series, “Ghost In The Shell.” Many fans on social media started criticizing Hollywood of “whitewashing” yet another Asian role, and asking if there were no native actresses for the part.
Writer and director Max Landis (“American Ultra”) then published a YouTube video titled, “If You’re Mad About ‘Ghost In the Shell,’ You Don’t Know How The Movie Industry Works,” in which he defends the caucasian actress for starring in the film.
The “Victor Frankenstein” writer starts off by explaining how a film of this magnitude gets made, from being bought, distributed and then cast with the “marketable celebrity,” ultimately to make money. “There used to be a bunch of A-list celebrities who used to mean different things to different regions, because studios have to make their money back by selling tickets,” said Landis.
While he makes it clear that fans should be mad, he explains that they should also see what is really happening in the world.
“There are no A-list female Asian celebrities right now on an international level. It’s infuriating,” stated Landis. “There used to be, in the 90s, diversity in our A-list actors. Jackie Chan and Jet Li were famous at the same time, they could both get movies made. We don’t have that guy anymore, we don’t even have Lucy Liu anymore.”
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Adding, “That is not the fault of the movie industry, really. That’s culture and movies getting more and more afraid because movies make less and less money.”
Landis continues to make his point and concludes his video by stating, “If you’re mad about Scarlett Johansson being cast in ‘Ghost In The Shell’ the truth of the matter is, you’re mad at the wrong people. You shouldn’t be mad at the film industry because they are operating out of fear.” Watch the full video above.