“Ghost” Director Talks Film’s Whitewashing

As part of the trailer launch this weekend for the film adaptation of the Japanese manga “Ghost in the Shell,” director Rupert Sanders took some press questions and was asked about one topic the film has come under fire for already – whitewashing.

The film boasts an international cast with the very white Scarlett Johansson in the lead role – a change from the original anime and manga which featured all Asian roles. The film also hit a controversy, that was quickly denied, that the actors had been digitally enhanced to “look more Asian”.

Sanders stands by his star, telling Screen Rant that Johansson’s two decade-plus industry career and her “cyberpunk aesthetic” are the key to her playing Major Kusanagi:

“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 with… I stand by my decision – she’s the best actress of her generation. I was flattered and honored that she would be in this 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.

She’s been a mind without a body, and a body without a mind… That’s really what drew me to her as The Major. She seemed to just inhabit that world so well. She did an incredible job of nuancing the human evolving through the machine, and in a way I think why it’s very relative to a large audience.”

The film is reportedly very near completion and all those involved, including many responsible for the original anime and manga, are said to be quite pleased with Johansson’s work and the finished product itself.