So I’m sure everyone has seen this by now. Paramount Pictures has released a pre-production photo of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in their live action version of Ghost in the Shell. For those who haven’t, here it is.
While I don’t think the picture is so incredibly bad, the circumstances in regards to both the film and the photo is what makes me angry.
First off, I am not sure why Hollywood (in this case, Paramount and Dreamworks) decided to again dabble in making another live action movie based on an Anime/Japanese property. While the Anime industry in the US is now back on the mend after the Recession hit a lot of companies hard, that doesn’t necessarily mean that “Green Light means go.” Apparently they did not learn their lessons with the failures of such films like Speed Racer and Dragon Ball Z (don’t worry I’ve seen the majority of both and they sucked); and with the on again/off again ill fated project of the live action version of Akira.
What really makes me angry about this go around is it was reported by many sources that Paramount had actually ran special effects tests that would be done in post production to “shift her ethnicity” so Scarlett Johansson could look more Asian…
WOW….. WHAT THE FUCK GUYS?!
Special effects to make her look Asian?! I am surprised there isn’t a bigger uproar about this. It’s one thing to use special effects to make one look younger or older, but changing skin color and ethnicity?! This is grossly offensive. Had this been suggested on any other race, you can bet there was going to be hell to pay for even saying or admitting to it.
While I have nothing against Scarlett Johansson (loved her as Black Widow), if you are already going with a cast that is Asian by majority; then it would’ve been wise to pick a Japanese actress to play the role of Major Motoko. And before you start going, “but Renee, there are no American Japanese actresses to play this role,” here’s a list of Japanese actresses the studio could’ve picked from.
1.) Rinko Kikuchi
Rinko is 35 years old and hails from Kanagawa, Japan. You may have seen her recently, playing the role of Mako Mori in Pacific Rim. She was also the first Japanese actress to be nominated for an AMERICAN Oscar ten years ago for her role in the movie Babel.
2.) Chaiki Kuriyama
While known as a singer, actress, and model in Japan, 31 year old Chaiki’s claim to fame in America was her role as Gogo Yubari in Quentin Tarentino’s Kill Bill Volume 1. She is also known for her role as Takako Chigusa in Battle Royale. Lately she’s been making appearances in various Japanese TV shows and is releasing a music album.
3.) Karen Fukuhara
Karen 23 years old and is a UCLA graduate. You may not know her yet, but she will be making her debut as Katana in DC’s upcoming film Suicide Squad.
4.) Kiki Sukezane
Kiki is 26 years old, and according to her family history, is a decendant from a long line of Samurai. She recently made her debut playing Miko Otomo in the television show, Heroes Reborn.
5.) Kimiko Glenn
Even though she is only half Japanese from her mothers side, 26 year old Kimiko has been having a successful run with her role as Brook Soso on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. She has also made appearances on other television shows such as Married and Law and Order: SVU.
In summary, I never really had any interest to see Paramount’s version of GITS. Having admitted that they were going to make changes to Johansson’s “ethnicity” has sealed the deal on that decision.
Sources: Yahoo, MovieWeb, Esquire, Screencrush