Ghost In The Shell Trailer Released “Whitewashing” Still An Issue
Ever since the release of the first trailer for the live action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, excitement has been at an all-time high. But despite the renewed anticipation, fans have been bringing up the issue of "whitewashing" the movie. "Whitewashing" is the term used when Caucasian actors are used to portray traditionally Asian characters similar to Doctor Strange. Ghost in the Shell can't seem to escape this issue since Scarlett Johansson was announced to be the movie's lead.
Based off the popular manga of the same name, Ghost in the Shell is a story set in a science fiction world wherein a person's consciousness can be uploaded to a network and replace their bodies with cybernetic ones that can be enhanced in several ways. This makes that person virtually immortal just by switching bodies. It raises the question of what it means to be human, whether it was solely about our consciousness or whether it was linked to our bodies to which we are born with. At the same time, it blurs the line of being a human and a machine.
Based on the trailer alone, the movie seems to have a high budget for the production of the movie. That being said, there's no stopping the producers from casting a Japanese actress for the role of its lead character. But despite being regarded as one of the best science fiction stories, Ghost in the Shell is not known outside of manga and sci-fi fans. Casting a Japanese actress would only add to this problem. Add to that, Makoto, which is the character's name, is only a pseudonym. Makoto herself said that she has forgotten her real name which removes her Japanese connection. Besides, Makoto has been portrayed by different interpretations on her appearance and the whole point of the series is that she isn't defined by her body but by her consciousness and mind.
Scarlett Johansson is the perfect choice for the role of Makoto as she is no stranger for this type of character. With her roles on The Avengers, Lucy, Her and Under the Skin to name a few, she has proven to be adept at an otherworldly femme fatale. Moreover, being an A-list celebrity, her casting would definitely bring fans unfamiliar with the series.
Nonetheless, all of this will be meaningless if the movie would not live up to its lofty standards. Even if a movie has the best actors on board, it will end up as a disappointment if the story is lacking. We can only hope that the rest of the movie holds up to its iconic animated movie. It's a tall task indeed but casting Scarlett Johansson as Makoto is a step in the right direction.