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Ghost In The Shell 2017: Scarlett Johansson Addresses Whitewashing Controversy

Ghost In The Shell 2017
Screen grab from UKParamountPictures YouTube Channel


Ghost In The Shell 2017: Scarlett Johansson Addresses Whitewashing Controversy

The Ghost In The Shell 2017 film is right around the corner, but the criticisms surrounding its casting have continued to trail after its lead actress, Scarlett Johansson, even before the Ghost In The Shell release. The controversy in question pertains to Johansson being cast in the lead when her character is depicted as Asian in the original source material.

Ghost In The Shell 2017 Whitewashing Controversy

The whitewashing headlines have haunted the film since it was announced that Johansson would be portraying The Major, the story’s main protagonist. The Major is a cyborg commander who, as mentioned earlier, is shown to be Asian in the original source material (Japanese manga series). This Asian depiction has been consistent across the franchise’s other ventures, such as its animated films and video games. Thus, fans voicing their displeasure over the casting has not been unwarranted.

In fact, many fans had even banded together in an online petition to have the role go to an Asian actress instead. This was as early as 2015, when it was first revealed that Johansson would be portraying The Major.

This had only added fuel to the fight against whitewashing in Hollywood. Recent films have shown a rise in whitewashing, such as with 2016’s Doctor Strange which had actress Tilda Swinton portray the Ancient One. In the original comics, the character is an Asian male.

There is also the recent reveal of Netflix’s film adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba’s Death Note. The manga series has had its fair share of adaptations, from an anime series to live-action films. Netflix’s adaptation has been slammed by netizens for its all-white cast despite the original story following Japanese characters.

Scarlett Johansson Speaks Up On Ghost In The Shell Casting

According to Johansson, her character is “essentially identityless” due to having an “entirely machinate body.” For the actress, seeing as The Major has a more cyborg body than anything, this thus does not dictate or identify her race.

“I think this character is living a very unique experience, in that she is a human brain in an entirely machinate body,” explained Johansson. “She’s essentially identityless. I thought to myself… I can play this character. I would never attempt to play a person of a different race, obviously.”

What’s your take on the Ghost In The Shell 2017 casting? Will you be watching the film once it hits the cinemas?

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