With the apparent success of the comic book movie genre flooding the box offices, Dreamworks focuses it attention on another form of a cult classic by signing on Scarlett Johansson to star in the cult classic Ghost in the Shell. The apparent move to feature the well known movie starlet is a sure sign that the long-awaited project finally has the green light to start production in the near future. Considering her recent roles as Black Widow and Lucy, it seems that Scarlett Johansson is the go-to for the female action hero as-of-late. Her taking on the role of the lead character in the Ghost in the Shell universe is just another highlight of her career and nerd fandom.
More than just a simple rumor or fantasy for anime fanboys and girls, this movie is actually happening. According to Variety, Scarlett Johansson signed on to become part of the Dreamworks-backed adaptation. The film is already going through the motions of pre-production and the Bill Wheeler script is still in the process of finalization. Rupert Sanders is set to direct the film. Avi Arad and Steven Paul are set to produce the film.
For those that may be unfamiliar with the infamous anime, Ghost in the Shell is one of Japan’s most recognizable and beloved stories. Originally written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow in 1989, the futuristic manga told the story of a anti-terrorist organization called Public Security Section 9. The story follows the main protagonist, cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi as she battles a recurring threat of a cybernetic threat to the daily machinations of a 21st century Japan while fighting the suspicion of having a figurative “ghost” within her cybernetics. The threat of a “ghost” is the speculation of an outside source controlling or manipulating the cybernetics within a character to control their actions and take away their free will.
The Ghost in the Shell story has evolved from just a manga series to a television series and, most recognizable, anime movie in 1995 that features the villainous hacker Puppet Master as the main antagonist. Most recently the franchise has re-vamped and relaunched as a series of OVA episodes titled Ghost in the Shell: Arise. The relaunching of the franchise for a new generation also features the release of the full-length feature film.
Though it is not fully confirmed, Scarlett Johansson is most likely set to play the lead role of Major Motoko Kusanagi. Quite the change from the Japanese face that the character is well-known for, Johansson seems to be too big of a name in Hollywood to not take on the iconic role. Scarlett Johansson’s resume and portrayal of many strong and physically-fit heroines in previous movies like Iron Man, The Avengers, and Lucy, make her a prime candidate to take on task of bringing Musanagi’s character to life.
Although the featured film does not have the original creator attached to it or any other writers that have worked on other stories within the Ghost in the Shell franchise, more details are yet to be revealed. Dreamworks’ head Stephen Spielberg has already stated that the series is one of his favorite and that he has been waiting a long time to bring it to the big screen. The choice of bringing in Scarlett Johansson to become a major player in bringing the film to life is definitely a clear sign that Hollywood is ready to further bring a live action version of the anime to a unknowing Western audience.
By Tyler Cole