Last week, DreamWorks Pictures debuted the first photo of Scarlett Johansson in the live-action adaptation of the popular manga and anime, Ghost in the Shell. While the studio undoubtedly meant to build up buzz for the film, it reignited the controversy over the “whitewashing” of Johansson’s character, Motoko Kusanagi, who was Japanese in the original story. It didn’t help when later reports suggested that the studio tested a visual effect to make Johansson appear Asian in the film.
Via Entertainment Weekly, writer and director Max Landis has posted a YouTube video in which he responded to Johansson’s casting. And while Landis condemned the decision, he said that neither Johansson nor the studio were to blame.
“The only reason to be upset about Scarlett Johansson being in Ghost in the Shell is if you don’t know how the movie industry works,” noted Landis. “I think you’re mad at the wrong people…you should be mad…because what’s broken is cultural and has little to do with that.”
Landis went on to explain his position, which contends that there are now only a handful of actors and actresses with the clout to get a movie made, most of whom are white.
“There are no A-list Asian female celebrities right now on an international level,” noted Landis. “It’s infuriating. There used to be diversity in our A-list actors…And a risky movie with a crazy concept like Ghost in the Shell, you’d better f***ing believe that they’re gonna cast Scarlett Johansson because they need the movie to work! Casting Scarlett Johansson is like the best thing that could have happened to that movie, ’cause now you get a Ghost in the Shell movie.”
Do you agree with Landis’ take on the Ghost in the Shell casting? Let us know in the comment section below!
Image: DreamWorks Pictures