For all of their ambition and jaw-dropping visual effects, The Great Wall and Rupert Sanders’ live-action Ghost in the Shell movie have both come under fire for casting white Hollywood A-listers in roles that would otherwise be reserved for different ethnicities.
Indeed, whitewashing is a thorny issue that’s reared its head in the past, with Tilda Swinton’s involvement in Doctor Strange causing controversy across the board. To their credit, many of the creatives involved in The Great Wall and Ghost in the Shell have addressed concerns all throughout development, and for the first time, leading star Scarlett Johansson has now weighed in on the matter at hand.
Speaking with Marie Claire as part of the magazine’s recent cover shoot, ScarJo noted that it was never her intention to play another race, before stressing the importance of nurturing a franchise headed up by a female protagonist – Major Motoko Kusanagi, in this instance.
“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that—the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.”
It’s a similar response to that of writer-director Rupert Sanders, who described Ghost in the Shell as an international story when pressed on the decision to cast Johansson as the one-of-a-kind cyborg.
Ghost in the Shell boots online on March 31st. Also on board for the cyberpunk actioner are Beat Takeshi Kitano as Daisuke Aramaki, Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet, Game of Thrones star Pilou Asbæk as Batou, and Takeshi Kitano as Daisuke Aramaki.