Rupert Sanders won’t apologize for reportedly “white-washing” the lead role in his upcoming Ghost in the Shell live-action remake. Even if the reporters are approaching him in the heart of Tokyo.
Sanders, who also brought audiences Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012, told ScreenRant reporter Jasmin Mohamed and others attending an event in Japan that Scarlett Johansson was cast as The Major based on her own body of work, and not what she was or what she wasn’t ethnically.
“To me, I cast very much from the gut, and I think I was very lucky to be able to get an amazing international cast of people that I’ve always really wanted to work it. I stand by my decision. She’s the best actress of her generation. I was flattered and honored that she would be in the film.
“I think, certainly people who were around the original anime, have been vehemently in support of her because she’s incredible and there are very few like her.”
Sanders is referring to groups like the original manga publisher, Kodansha, who through its director of international business Sam Yoshiba, told Anime Network Johansson’s inclusion was the right fit.
“Looking at her career so far, I think Scarlett Johansson is well cast. She has the cyberpunk feel. And we never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place.”
Kodansha debuted the comic in 1989 and continued it well into the 1990s. That would later give way to two animated films, all while Hollywood slowly churned the project through its long and arduous path to becoming a live-action movie.
Sanders didn’t completely ignore Japanese actors. Takeshi Kitano, for example, plays Daisuke Aramaki, who in the manga at least is the chief executive director of Public Security Section 9, a fictional intelligence department that’s part of the world Masamune Shirow created.
Ghost in the Shell hits theaters March 31. You can get a look at the first official trailer right here.
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