Scarlett Johansson to Star in Ghost in the Shell

Posted on May 14, 2016

Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures have announced production is underway for Ghost in the Shell. The film is being shot in Wellington, New Zealand and directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and The Huntsman). It will star actress Scarlett Johansson.

The film is based on Kodansha Comics manga series. Scarlett will star as The Major, the human-cyborg hybrid who leads the elite task force Section 9. Section 9 faces an enemy that is determined to erradicate Hanka Robotic's advancements in cyber technology.

Scarlett has been terrific in other superhero and science fiction roles, such as Lucy and the Avengers films. However, there has been a backlash over her being cast in the role of an Asian woman, Major Motoko Kusanagi. She will just be called Major in the film. The studios have denied accusations they plan to use CGI to shift Scarlett's ethnicity. Paramount Pictures told Screencrush, "A test was done related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded. Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett's character and we have no future plans to do so."

Ghost in the Shell producers Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Michael Costigan and Jeffrey Silver said in a joint statement, "We are so pleased to be in Wellington to shoot Ghost in the Shell. The city boasts state-of-the-art production facilities and a rich urban landscape that make it an ideal setting for a sci-fi action film. The crew-base in New Zealand working on the film is first class, and working with Sir Richard Taylor and the team at Weta Workshop is inspirational on every level. The people of New Zealand have been terrific partners in helping us bring this story and its beloved characters to audiences around the world and we are thankful for their continued hospitality."

The companies entered into marketing agreements with New Zealand film and tourism organizations. New Zealand is thrilled to have another potential fantasy/sf franchise coming its way.

Turism New Zealand CEO Kevin Bowler says, "Tourism New Zealand is thrilled to be working with Paramount Pictures for the first time on Ghost in the Shell. Film tourism is an important element in Tourism New Zealand's work to inspire people to visit New Zealand and we look forward to this new opportunity to showcase New Zealand to the rest of the world."

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