Ever since Scarlett Johansson was announced as the lead actress for the "Ghost in the Shell" live-action adaptation, the production has been met with controversy and whitewashing criticism. A petition was even launched to replace Johansson with a Japanese actress, although production moved ahead with the actress in the lead role.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, "Ghost in the Shell" producer Steven Paul opened up about the casting decision, ultimately saying that he thinks "everybody is going to end up being really happy with it. They're going to be very, very happy with it when they see what we've actually done with it, and I don't think anybody's going to be disappointed."
The producer spoke of the production's reverence of the source material, saying that "there's a great respect that's been paid to the manga." The production has worked closely with the manga's original publisher, Kodansha; the publisher has also previously spoken in support of Johansson's casting. Paul did confirm that instead of Johansson's character being named Major Kusanagi, she will simply be referred to as "The Major."
Paul said that the film decided to show the world of "Ghost in the Shell" as an "international one" because he viewed the story as an international story. "I don't think it was just a Japanese story," said Paul. "'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. That's why I say the international approach is, I think, the right approach to it."
The cast of "Ghost in the Shell" includes Johansson, Pilou AsbÃ¦k, Beat Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Kaori Momoi, Rila Fukushima, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara and Tuwanda Manyimo.
Paul also spoke about another manga series that he's adapting for a feature film, "Lone Wolf and Cub." Considering the controversy surrounding "Ghost in the Shell's" casting, Paul has been upfront about his plans for "Lone Wolf and Cub."
"My initial instinct is that they will be primarily Japanese because they're samurai, and the whole story is very, very Japanese in the sense of what they are," he said. Because of that, Paul said, Japanese actors will be cast in at least the film's main roles.
Directed by Rupert Sanders, "Ghost in the Shell" is set for a March 31, 2017 release date.