That’s because Masamune Shirow’s beloved manga series is viewed as a decidedly Japanese story, leading many to decree that the addition of Johansson was nothing more than whitewashing on Paramount’s part. According to producer Steven Paul, that’s simply not the case, as Ghost in the Shell boasts a “very international story.”
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Paul leapt to the defence of Paramount’s high-profile adaptation, revealing that the studio is “utilizing people from all over the world.”
“I don’t think it was just a Japanese story. ‘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,” he explained. “That’s why I say the international approach is, I think, the right approach to it.
“There [are] all sorts of people and nationalities in the world in ‘Ghost In The Shell. 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.”
To that end, Ghost in the Shell features a star-studded cast that comprises Game of Thrones star Pilou Asbaek, Michael Pitt, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Kaori Momoi, and Chin Han, not to mention Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, Tuwanda Manyimo and Arrow starlet Rila Fukushima.
How and ever, it’s really the decision to place Johansson in the lead role of Major Motoko Kusanagi that will only continue to cast a shadow over Ghost in the Shell, and until we clock eyes on some tangible footage of the movie – set photos are about as good as it gets for now – it’s hard to see Paramount’s manga adaptation shaking off those whitewashing claims.
Ghost in the Shell has been pegged for release on March 31, 2017.