Following the reveal of the first photo of Scarlett Johansson as the lead character in the upcoming live-action adaptation of "Ghost in the Shell," a new report has come out stating that the studios behind the project (Paramount and Dreamworks) tested CGI that would alter the ethnicity of white actors to Asian in post-production.
ScreenCrush reports that multiple independent sources close to the project have stated that the studios commissioned visual effects that would take Scarlett Johansson and "shift her ethnicity" in post, making her appear Asian. The tests were run by Lola VFX, the effects company responsible for the aging up and down of Brad Pitt's performance in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Upon seeing the finished results of the test, however, the report states that the idea was rejected "immediately."
Paramount Pictures confirmed to ScreenCrush that the tests did take place but insisted that they were not for Johansson's character. "A test was done related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded. Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett's character and we have no future plans to do so," read the statement. However, the unnamed sources say that the tests were specifically commissioned for Johansson's character.
This move comes after much vocal criticism of the actress' casting in the lead role, a role that was originally depicted as Asian in the manga. Similarly, Johansson's character will be called Major in the film instead of her name in the source material, Major Motoko Kusanagi.
Filming is under way in Wellington, New Zealand, for a U.S. release on March 31, 2017.