The news follows a report from October that the "Avengers" and "Lucy" star had been offered $10 million to headline the film, based on Masamune Shirow's cyberpunk manga. The studio tapped "Snow White and the Huntsman" director Rupert Sanders to helm the long-developing project in January 2014.
Debuting in 1989, "Ghost in the Shell" centers on Public Security Section 9, a counter-cyberterrorist organization in near-future Japan led by Major Motoko Kusanagi. The manga inspired animated films, video games and an animated television series.
DreamWorks has been trying to get the live-action film off the ground since 2008. Margot Robbie ("The Wolf of Wall Street," "Suicide Squad") was in early talks for the lead before the studio turned to Johansson, who's emerged as an in-demand action star following "Lucy" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Variety notes that her involvement will help the project get a green light.
Avi Arad and Steven Paul are producing "Ghost in the Shell" from a script by Bill Wheeler ("The Cape"). Mark Sourian is executive producing.