Wow, for real? Legendary Japanese actor Takeshi "Beat" Kitano has joined the cast of Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks' live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga classic Ghost in the Shell.
Japanese Icon Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano Boards 'Ghost In The Shell'
My only reaction to this is dammit, this project is still happening?
Based on the iconic manga series by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell follows a female Special Ops cyborg, played by Scarlett Johansson, who is part of an elite task force called Section 9 that's devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists.
Kitano will play Daisuke Aramaki, the founder and leader of Section 9.
Slow clap. So they've added an actual Japanese person to this otherwise whitewashed Hollywood remake. Okay, that makes sense, given that the movie is indeed set in Japan. It also makes sense, in accordance with the Great White Hollywood Tradition, that the lead character would be played by a white actress.
According to Variety, the film follows "a female member of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission's covert ops unit (Johansson), which specializes in fighting technology-related crime."
So does that mean Scarlett Johansson is playing Japanese cyborg cop Major Motoko Kusanagi? Or perhaps she'll be a white American cyborg cop who somehow finds herself working for the Japanese government. Or maybe she's a Japanese cop who got fitted with a Caucasian cyborg body. Whatever the case, Hollywood can always find a reason, no matter how far-fetched, to make the hero white.
Is casting Takeshi Kitano an attempt to make this remake more legit? Probably. But you can fill out the cast with as many secondary and background Asian characters as you'd like, and techno-Japan-ify whole rest of the damn production; it still doesn't change the fact that Motoko Kusanagi is white.
Hey, now it's like the cyborg action version of Lost in Translation. Or Lucy. Familiar territory for Scarlett.