Scarlett Johansson Defends Her New Movie ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Against Whitewashing Accusations
Scarlett Johansson has finally addressed the controversy surrounding her casting in her new movie “Ghost in the Shell“. In an interview with Marie Claire magazine, Johansson said that she never wanted to take the role away from an Asian actor and wouldn’t have accepted the role if that were the case. Johansson added that being a part of a franchise that stars a female protagonist is a rare opportunity and she felt compelled to take advantage of the opportunity. Amidst the excitement that the cherished Japanese manga and anime movie “Ghost in the Shell” is receiving the live-action, big Hollywood studio treatment, a lot still believe there is some major whitewashing going on with the project. Scarlett Johansson is playing the main character, Major Kusanagi, who in this version is notably just called “The Major.”
“Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive,” – Scarlett Johansson
Johansson tried to downplay the controversy and defend herself against accusations of whitewashing.
“Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that — the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.”- Scarlett Johansson
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When Paramount first announced Johansson would be joining the project in April 2016, fans and actors of Asian descent protested the casting, calling it another instance of whitewashing in Hollywood including Ming-Na Wen and Constance Wu. Wen said while she didn’t have an issue with Johansson as an actress in general, she stood against everything the whitewashing of the role signified. Wu, who has been vocal about whitewashing and lack of Asian roles in mainstream Hollywood in the past, added her thoughts.
Johansson is the latest to come out and push aside the whitewashing controversy. Over the summer a producer on the film said that their adaptation of the anime is an “international story.”
“Ghost in the Shell” does star Japanese actors, including the acclaimed Takeshi Kitano, but there are also a number of white actors. Michael Pitt, Michael Wincott and Juliette Binoche will also star in the film.