Paramount has finally released the first trailer for its adaptation of the Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell; following a lengthy tease of six ten-second snippets from the film.
Scarlett Johansson takes on the role of Major, a special-ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elit e task force Section 9 devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists.
Though the trailer promises some stunning, futuristic visuals; what's been shown so far does little to quieten the whitewashing controversy surrounding this film, showing a distinctly Japanese setting but with the focus being largely placed on Johansson, Juliette Binoche, and Danish actor Pilou Asbæk.
Fans had already expressed their dismay at the news Johansson would be cast in the lead role of (the clearly Japanese) Motoko Kusanagi, and the first image of the actor in the role seemed only to solidify the dissonance of her casting.
A defining voice in the backlash was Ming Na-Wen, the voice of Disney's Mulan and current star of Marvel television series Agents of Shield; with comic writer Jon Tsuei explaining Ghost in the Shell actually ties into something deeply rooted within Japanese identity and to whitewash its story is to strip it of its weight, power, and relevance.
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
1/11 Scarlett Johansson cast as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell
Blonde, white US actress Scarlett Johansson was announced to be playing the clearly Japanese character Motoko Kusanagi in Hollywood's Ghost in the Shell remake, much to the dismay of Asian film fans
2/11 Tilda Swinton cast as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange
Marvel sparked outrage when Anglo-Scottish actress Tilda Swinton was cast as Tibetan mystic The Ancient One alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
Zoe Saldana was criticised for 'blacking up' to play the considerably darker-skinned soul singer Nina Simone in Nina
4/11 Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Prince of Persia
The half Jewish, quarter Swedish actor was cast to play a Middle Eastern Prince in Disney's 2010 film
5/11 Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
Mara was been cast in the role of American Indian Tiger Lily, sparking an online protest from angry film fans
6/11 Christian Bale plays Moses in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings
Ridley Scott claimed he would never cast 'Mohammed so-and-so from such-and-such a country' in a lead role in his Biblical epic, and went on to cast an entirely white cast instead
7/11 Jim Caveziel plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ
Catholic star Mel Gibson chose to cast a Caucasian American actor in the role of Jesus for his controversial film
8/11 Micky Rooney plays a Japanese neighbour in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Who better to play Holly Golightly's Japanese neighbour IY Yunoishi than American actor Mick Rooney. At least Hollywood has come some way since 1961
9/11 Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo
Ben Affleck became the subject of a few editorials in Latin American newspapers for casting himself (an American with English, Irish, Scottish and Swiss ancestry) as a Mexican CIA operative
10/11 Jennifer Connelly plays Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind
Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé was a naturalised US citizen from El Salvador, but was played by an actress of Jewish, Irish and Norwegian descent
11/11 Chinese actresses cast in Memoirs of a Geisha
What better way to alienate Japanese cinemagoers than to cast three Chinese actresses in the lead roles in a film about Japanese culture
Producer Steven Paul has defended the decision by stating that fans are "going to end up being really happy with it" and that the film isn't distinctly Japanese, but takes place in "an international world"; though Kaori Momoi has recently revealed she'll be - confusingly - playing Johansson's mother in the film, leaving the film in a particularly perilous position when it comes to navigating the cultural issues brought up by this approach to adaptation.
Ghost in the Shell hits UK cinemas 31 March 2017.Reuse content