Whitewashing is a big topic of controversy in Hollywood at the moment. Many actors and filmmakers have been criticized for the inaccurate depiction of characters that are traditionally non-white in source material. After being on the negative end of the controversy over her role in the upcoming “Ghost in the Shell,” Scarlett Johansson recently gave her opinion on the subject.
“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.” Johansson told Marie Claire in a recent interview. “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.”
What’s curious about this particular instance of whitewashing is the praise she, and everyone else, has gained for their efforts. After a set visit, Mamoru Oshii – who developed several of the anime adaptations – silenced several fears fans may have had. “Scarlett Johansson playing Motoko from beginning to end has gone above and beyond my expectations for the role,” he said. “I’m sure this will be the most gorgeous film in the series so far.”
Whether Scarlett Johansson was the best casting choice or not remains to be seen, but having one of the principal creators of the franchise give his seal of approval should be more than enough to quiet down the controversy – at least with this film.
Based on Masamune Shirow’s popular cyberpunk manga, as well as Mamoru Oshii’s anime adaptations, the live-action film stars Johansson as a cyborg-human hybrid who leads Section 9, a task force assigned to stop cyber-criminals. Now they face a new enemy devoted to destroying Hanka Robotic’s artificial intelligence technology.
Opening March 31, “Ghost in the Shell” also stars Pilou Asbæk, Beat Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Kaori Momoi, Rila Fukushima, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara and Tuwanda Manyimo.
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