Over the weekend, Paramount finally blew the lid off their highly anticipated Ghost in the Shell adaptation, which is arriving in March. After a few tantalizing teasers, the studio dropped the first full trailer during a fan event in Japan and sent the internet into a frenzy. So far, the general consensus seems to be positive and anticipation is certainly high for Rupert Sanders’ film.
One thing that many people are curious about though is the villain. While fans expected it to be Puppet Master, it’s actually going to be Hideo Kuze. In the manga, Kuze is a childhood friend of Motoko’s who she convinced to undergo the cyber-conversion procedure. As is clear from the trailer, he didn’t take to it – believing it robbed him of his humanity – and sets about destroying everyone with a so-called cyberbrain.
It’s easy to see why the producers plumped for Kuze for this movie (which they no doubt hope will be the first of many). As the film seems to be pushing the Major’s character arc to the fore, it makes sense for the villain to be a figure from her past, but according to Sanders, he may not appear exactly how you might remember him from the source material.
“I think to be honest, Kuze borrows a few facets from different characters in the series,” said the director. “He’s not just Kuze and he’s not just the puppet master. He’s kind of an amalgamation and the way he moves through the network is borrowed from other elements.”
While it’s still surprising that they didn’t choose Puppet Master, or even the Laughing Man as the chief antagonist, having Kuze borrow elements from a few different characters makes sense. From what we’ve heard about the film so far, it won’t be a straight adaptation of the source material, instead following closely while still mixing and matching a few pieces here and there to make things easier for the adaptation.
Speaking about the actor who will bring Kuze to life, Michael Pitt, here’s what Sanders had to share:
“Michael Pitt was incredibly immersed in that world. I mean he really went fully in there,” he explained. “He was living in a shipping container next to set, so he could smoke and punch bags simultaneously. He’d be constantly skipping rope. He was incredible. Him and Scarlett together were these incredible specimens. He was scrawling and drawing and he really immersed himself in the violence of the man. I think it’s an incredible performance.”
Ghost in the Shell will open in theatres on March 31st, 2017, and given everything we’ve seen from it this weekend, I think it’s safe to say that it’s no doubt one of next year’s most anticipated films – and rightfully so.