The producer and director of the upcoming action movie “Ghost in the Shell” are brushing off criticisms of whitewashing surrounding the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi, the film’s main character.
Many fans of “Ghost in the Shell,” a Japanese manga and anime about a cyborg counter-terrorist unit in the future, were upset when Johansson was announced to take the role of Motoko because the character is originally Asian.
Rupert Sanders, the motion picture’s director, stood by his decision and defended hiring Johansson because “she’s the best actress of her generation,” according to Screen Rant.
“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,” Sanders said. “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.”
Avi Arad, the film’s producer, also appeared to be unconcerned about the controversy in a recent interview with Stuff, a New Zealand-based publication. “[You’ve] sort of got to just chase your own fandom. We don’t think we’re misaligned with the fans in terms of what we like about it,” Arad said about Johansson taking the role. “Some fans I talk to think it’s great. Everyone I know personally who is a fan thought it was awesome, and there’s people online who didn’t think it was great.”
Amongst the dissenters of Johansson’s casting was Ming-Na Wen, the Asian American actress who currently stars in Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Nothing against Scarlett Johansson. In fact, I’m a big fan. But everything against this Whitewashing of Asian role. https://t.co/VS6r6iish9
— Ming-Na Wen (@MingNa) April 14, 2016
“Ghost in the Shell” is set to release March 31, 2017.