The new Ghost in the Shell trailer has landed, but I have reservations about watching the film.
I love Scarlett Johansson, I think she has a serene presence that she brings to her characters and I can follow her through action to love interest roles with a belief that is the mark of a great actress. However, I am seriously concerned about the white washing of the lead character. The movie’s producers even considered making Scarlett Johansson look more Asian using CGI special effects! Yes, seriously!?!... I can't harp on about white washing of black roles and then comfortably ignore the whitewashing of a Japanese character and potential employment of 'yellowface' because I love the anime the film is based on!
Were there no high profile Japanese actresses that could take the role? If there were an abundance of roles for Asian actors in Hollywood then the casting of Ms Johansson in this iconic role would feel more like artistic licence and less like pandering to perceptions of audience's and what they will and won't pay for? Ghost in the Shell the anime is a ridiculously successful franchise on its own, those of us lucky enough to know about it were quite happy to watch it, subtitles and all since the late 90's, so what's changed? Well, apparently nothing in Hollywood who seem unable to take the chance that a film could be successful with a non-western lead.
And it's such a shame too, from a purely selfish perspective because the trailer has really impressed me! They've got the creepy clean yet grungy aesthetic right, as well as the mystery and disturbing feeling of being manipulated and watched that had us gripped in the anime. The graphics and CGI look on point too dammit!!
Anyway, either you stand for something or you fall for anything, someone once said, it's only a film *sigh and a small price to pay in the slow struggle against all the manifestations of 'blackface' that is part of the wider systemic racism in our evolving global society.
In honour of the original and the Japanese people, the opening sequence to Ghost in the Shell 1995... Still gives me chills...