Original ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Director Really Digs Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko
Back when the Ghost in the Shell casting news was announced, people were understandably confused that Scarlett Johansson would be playing a character whose origins and race, as far as we all knew, were Japanese. Despite protests, production on the movie ensued, and we got our first look at the anime adaptation in a few short teasers a few weeks ago. Now, the director of the original animated Ghost in the Shell films, Mamoru Oshii, has visited the set and seen everything for himself, and it sounds like he’s not upset at all about Johansson’s casting.
Oshii came to visit the set and have a look around at what the live-action version of his work would look like, and was pretty impressed. In a new featurette, the Ghost in the Shell team gives us a look at Oshii, Johansson, the director Rupert Sanders, and a lot of behind-the-scenes action. Oshii provided some comments as to how he feels about Johansson’s Major Motoko:
Scarlett Johansson playing Motoko, from beginning to end, has gone above and beyond my expectations for the role. I’m sure this will be the most gorgeous film in the series so far.
He’s certainly right about that second part, for sure. From what we’ve seen in the five-second teasers, and also from what we can see in this featurette, it looks like the folks behind the live-action movie are doing everything they can to give it the look and feel of the original, down to even recreating that stunning opening title sequence in real life.
As to his comments about Johansson, it’s likely the Ghost in the Shell team are hopeful that hearing it from the original director’s mouth might calm some fans down a little. Maybe it will. And maybe Johansson will be fantastic in the role. She’s not a bad actress, by any means. But let’s be honest, casting a Japanese actress as Motoko would not have been difficult to do. It’s likely that Johansson was the most attractive option for producers because she’s a well-known face in this country, who would draw an audience unfamiliar with the original anime, but we can’t make Hollywood more diverse without actually trying.
Ghost in the Shell opens in theaters March 31, 2017.