It’s been an awful long time since Motoko Kusanagi swung onto screens in the West – ten years, in fact – though mere days after FUNimation Entertainment announced plans to launch a new animated film across North America at the tail-end of November, The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Straight Outta Compton scribe Jonathan Herman has been recruited to pen the live-action Ghost in the Shell film.
Currently incubating in pre-production over at DreamWorks, this is the first tangible sign of progress to come out of the studio’s ambitious project in some time, and it’s understood that Herman’s first port of call will be to overhaul the early script. Rupert Sanders is taking the reins as director, while Avengers and Lucy actress Scarlett Johansson toplines the cyberpunk sci-fi as the kick-ass cyborg, Motoko Kusanagi.
Working as part of an elite task force known as Section 9, Kusanagi is tasked with cleaning up the streets of the fictional Japanese city of Niihama. Bearing in mind that Ghost in the Shell has been around in some shape or form since the late 80s, it remains to be seen which story strand DreamWorks will adapt in its live-action interpretation. Whatever the case, there’s no question that the manga itself is ripe for a big-screen feature, with themes of existentialism and far-future cyborgs lining the archives of Masamune Shirow’s celebrated series.
Indeed, there are also a number of potential villains for Johansson to lock horns with, including the Puppet Master and the Laughing Man. But will DreamWorks tap either baddie for the lead antagonist in the final feature? We’ll likely find out soon enough, with the studio set to begin production on the film in the early stages of 2016.
Scarlett Johansson and Ghost in the Shell will introduce the post-cyberpunk world of Niihama when DreamWorks’ live-action feature arrives on March 31, 2017.