After much controversy, Scarlett Johanssen has finally spoken out about the outcry in regard to her lead role in the upcoming movie Ghost in the Shell. The controversy stems from the fact that many people feel the Hollywood adaptation of the Japanese manga is “whitewashing” the story with their casting choices. Johanssen has remained quiet on the subject until a recent interview with Marie Claire Magazine.
“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person,” Johanssen said. “Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”
A thoughtful and self aware response, Johanssen seems to be taking the controversy seriously. Those who oppose the idea that the Hollywood version of Ghost in the Shell is guilty of whitewashing point out that Johanssen is playing a cyborg, which cannot have an ethnicity, only likeness to its creator.
Sam Yoshiba, director of international business for publisher Kodansha, which published the original manga, has spoken out in support of this idea.
“I think Scarlett Johansson is well cast. She has the cyberpunk feel,” he said. “We never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place. This is a chance for a Japanese property to be seen around the world.”
While commenting on the skepticism regarding her lead role in the movie, Johanssen also took the time to address gender quality in Hollywood, stating,
“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.”
Though the movie will premiere on March 31 to already mixed feelings, Ghost in the Shell is guaranteed to be a success because of the controversial attention it is receiving, but also because of its existing fanbase. Check out the original and new trailers below to see what all the talk is about.