Ever since the first image of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in the upcoming “Ghost in the Shell” feature film was released, the live-action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga series has received backlash with fans declaring another Hollywood whitewashing incident.
Now, Steve Paul, a producer on the film has spoken out about the criticism, telling BuzzFeed that he thinks fans will have a change of heart when they see the final product.
“I think everybody is going to end up being really happy with it,” he told the website. “They’re going to be very, very happy with it when they see what we’ve actually done with it, and I don’t think anybody’s going to be disappointed.”
The original “Ghost in the Shell” story follows a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid who leads an elite task force Section 9, a counter-terrorist organization operating in a dystopian 21st century Japan. Though, according to Paul, in the movie Johansson is referred to as just “the Major” and the setting is in “an international world.”
“There [are] all sorts of people and nationalities in the world in ‘Ghost in the Shell,’” he explained. “We’re utilizing people from all over the world…There’s Japanese in it. There’s Chinese in it. There’s English in it. There’s Americans in it.”
The Rupert Sanders-directed film includes actors such as Rila Fukushima, Takeshi Kitano, Kaori Momoi, Yutaka Izumihara, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche and Pilou Asbæk. The first pictures of the cast filming on set in Hong Kong were leaked online not too long ago, once again adding fuel to the fire.
“I don’t think it was just a Japanese story,” Paul continued. “‘Ghost in the Shell’ was a very international story, and it wasn’t just focused on Japanese; it was supposed to be an entire world. That’s why I say the international approach is, I think, the right approach to it.”
Adding that he had the full support of “Ghost in the Shell” creator Shirow and Kodansha, Paul said, “I think we’ve done the manga comic great honor. As I said, the fans will be very happy, because there’s a great respect that’s been paid to the manga…We’ve been very, very careful. Obviously, there’s some new imagination, as well. I mean, like anything, when you’re making a movie, you’ve gotta bring your own.”
“Ghost in the Shell” will arrive in theaters on March 31, 2017.