Problems with Scarlett Johansson’s Casting in “Ghost in the Shell”

It’s official: Scarlett Johansson is going to play Major Mokoto Kusanagi in the Hollywood adaptation of the Japanese classic manga and anime series Ghost in the Shell. Color me and thousands of other Ghost in the Shell fans disappointed and oddly resigned. Resigned to resisting, that is.

You can read more about this at Digital Spy, but I have a ton of stuff to say about this that goes beyond just telling the news story surrounding this casting.

First, a big “NO” to Johansson being cast as a Japanese character. That’s off the top. No ifs, ands, and buts about this; there is no way to go around this. And don’t nobody tell me in the comments “But she’s a big name! They need her to draw in the crowds!” Yeah, well, Ridley Scott also said this about his cast for Exodus: Gods and Kings, and look how that turned out—the film was a big dud due to folks getting mad and getting even at the box office.

Second, even if I was on board with a non-Japanese actress playing Kusanagi, I wouldn’t pick Johansson. Now, I have nothing personal against Johansson, and I’m sure she’s a great lady, but honestly, I think she’s a bit wooden in her delivery. To cut to the quick, her performances have largely been underwhelming to me, for instance, her portrayal of Black Widow in the Marvel films. That phrase “I have red on my ledger” is now a phrase emblazoned into my head from both its repetitiveness and her delivery. To me, playing a character like Mokoto requires much more finesse, since you’re not just playing a bada$$ lady, you’ve got to play a lady who is also a cyborg who has problems of her own concerning her past and her new cybernetic life. In short, she’s going to have to do more than just play Black Widow with machine parts.

Overall, I’m not for this, and I will not be seeing this film, even though I’ve been salivating for a big screen production for years. Sorry, Hollywood, but once again, you won’t be getting my money for this film.

What do you think about this news?

Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin. Photo credit: StudioCanal

 

 

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