Making a successful live action anime adaptation is by no means an easy feat. Films like Dragonball Evolution hang like a millstone around the genre’s neck, often serving to dissuade filmmakers from attempting what seems like the impossible. Yet with Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell, the impossible has seemingly been achieved: a compelling, visually stunning, and deeply weird anime adaptation that brings the sci-fi cyberpunk strangeness of the original to the big screen for a new generation of viewers.
At the heart of this new iteration of the iconic anime story is Scarlett Johansson, who stars as the Major, a highly advanced, cybernetically enhanced counterterrorist agent trying to prevent a cybercriminal from wreaking havoc on Tokyo and uncover dark secrets about her own past, too. Not only does the Major wrestle with issues of personhood and identity—struggling with what it means to be a human brain inside a cybernetic body—but also issues of consent and agency. After all when you don’t technically own your body, what say do you have in what happens to it?
While in New York City at a recent press day, I sat down with Scarlett Johansson to speak with her about the Major’s internal struggle. In addition, I spoke with co-stars Juliette Binoche (“Dr. Ouelet”), Pilou Asbæk (“Batou”), and Chin Han (“Togusa”) about what drew them to the project, wearing intense eye prosthetics, mullets, and more.
Ghost in the Shell is in theaters now.
Will you be seeing Ghost in the Shell? Let me know in the comments below.
Image: Paramount Pictures
Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter ( @Osteoferocious).