New Behind The Scenes Look At Scarlet Johansson's Major In GHOST IN THE SHELL

New Behind The Scenes Look At Scarlet Johansson's Major In GHOST IN THE SHELL

The Production I.G. twitter account has revealed a new look at Scarlett Johansson's Major from Paramount and Dreamworks' live-action Ghost in the Shell movie. Plus, casting news that should have anime fans very excited.

By MarkJulian - Jul 05, 2016 07:07 PM EST
Filed Under: Ghost in the Shell
In the image below, that's Mamoru Oshii (director of the 1995 Ghost in the Shell film), Kenji Kamiyama (director of the Ghost in the Shell TV anime) and composer Kenji Kawai (who composed music for the two Ghost in the Shell films) on set with Rupert Sanders, Scarlett Johansson and an unidentified actor.  The image comes by way of the official Production I.G. Twitter account, the studio behind all of the the Ghost in the Shell anime adaptations (both film and TV).

Ghost in the Shell is currently filming in Hong Kong. 

Executive Producer Steven Paul recently stated that fans of the manga and anime will be very pleased with what Rupert Sanders is striving to achieve with the project.  He also added that the film has great respect for the original anime and manga, a statement which is certainly supported by Sanders and Johansson making time for Oshii, Kamiyama and Kawai to tour the set.  

Mamoru Oshii, Kenji Kamiyama, and Kenji Kawai with Scarlet Johansson and Rupert Sanders

In related news, it has been revealed in an interview with the Associated Press, that Kaori Momoi (Memoirs of a GeishaSukiyaki Western Django has joined the film and will be playing Scarlett Johansson's mother.  That's right, the very-American Scarlett Johansson has a Japanese mother in the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie.  This is of great importance as the anime, films and OVAs all exist in separate continuities that are loosely based on the manga - with each having different origins for The Major:
  • in once instance, she was in a terrible accident as  a young child, which left her body beyond repair and resulted in her brain being encased in a metal shell and implanted in a biomechanical body.  In a cyberpunk future where mechanical enhancements are common place, The Major is one of a very select few to have a body that's 100% synthetic.
  • in another instance, this accident occurred while Motoko was still in her mother's womb and as a result, her brain was transferred into a mechanical body, (technically) before she was ever born.
  • in the third case, it's heavily implied (but never confirmed) that The Major is an A.I. 

With the casting of The Major's mother, it would seem that the film isn't going down the A.I. route.  And with her mom being Japanese, is it possible that a big plot twist may have just been spoiled?  Perhaps the uproar about whitewashing is all for nothing? 

As fans of the anime know, The Major's brain is encased in a metal shell and is capable of being transferred from one cyborg body to another.  Often times, she gets her body destroyed in the line of duty and has backups ready to go at a moments notice.  In some depictions, she's also capable of onnecting her brain to a central computer that allows her to control multiple cyborg bodies at once.  This is where that's relevant.  Back in May, Rila Fukishima (Arrow, The Wolverine) was confirmed to have joined the film via The Hollywood Reporter, but since then, there have been no further details on her role, almost as if the production wants everyone to forget that she's in the film.  Could it be that Fukishima is the real Major, i.e. she's playing the familiar host body that most anime fans recognize and Scarlett Johansson is just playing one of the "shells" The Major transfers her consciousness to for a specific mission?  This is speculation for now but it would certainly explain how Scarlett has a Japanese mother in the film.  

Ghost in the Shell is an upcoming, cyberpunk sci-fi film from Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures. Rupert Sanders directs from a script written by Jamie Moss and Jonathan Herman. Scarlett Johansson stars as Motoko Kusanagi. Pilou Asbæk plays her right-hand man, Batou. Beat Takeshi plays their boss, Lt. Col. Daisuke Aramaki. Michael Pitt will play the villain of the film, The Laughing Man.

Ghost in the Shell opens in US theaters on March 31, 2017.

Fan-rendering by Jose Barrero.
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