Before Ghost in the Shell, Hollywood was garnering outrage for a practice known as “whitewashing,” or the casting of Caucasian actors for roles that were initially African, Hispanic, or Asian descent in the works they were adapted from. Think Jake Gyllenhall in Prince of Persia. Christian Bale in Exodus. Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange. Finn Jones as Iron Fist. Or, even more recently, Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell.
Of course, there’s arguments to both sides. If Hollywood is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make a movie, they want to ensure the greatest likelihood that the film won’t be losing money, which means they’re going with bankable stars who have a proven box office draw. On the other hand there’s those who are purists who want the story to remain as true to the original as possible and who also feel like casting Caucasians in the roles are a form of discrimination.
And instead, it ends up becoming a PC tug-of-war as studios argue that they would cast the characters if there were stars available with the cultural background of the characters they’re portraying. With that not being the case, they don’t have many other options to go with, and while they may acknowledge that other actors could become stars if cast in the roles that are being “whitewashed” they also don’t have a backing before the movie comes out to generate interest, but have had parts in numerous other roles that didn’t generate much interest in their acting ability.
Which leaves us in a gridlock between each side wanting the other to give and neither budging when all we really want to do is see if the live action version of Ghost in the Shell was able to do justice to the animated version because with the visual effects already on display, it looks like the filmmakers were able to still create a graphically excellent film that still honors the originals legacy as much as possible despite casting an American woman in a Japanese part, something which can be seen in the comparison between the trailer and actual Ghost in the Shell scenes.
First, here’s the initial trailer:
And for the comparisons between the new trailer and the 1995 anime version, click here.
Main Photo: Scarlett Johansson plays The Major in Ghost in the Shell from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures in theaters March 31, 2017.