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‘Ghost in the Shell’ Scarlett Johansson’s Role Slammed by Fans; ‘Stop Whitewashing’

Scarlett Johansson

Fans of the famous manga series have criticised “Ghost in the Shell” makers for casting Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi. They are frustrated with yet another instance of Hollywood whitewashing.

“Ghost in the Shell” started filming in New Zealand last February. It is based on the bestselling manga by Masamune Shirow and it is also considered as an all-time great anime. It has been adapted into some critically-acclaimed animations as well, reveals The Wrap. Rupert Sanders is directing this movie which will hit the screens in the first quarter of 2017.

Paramount Pictures tweeted an image of Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi. Its marketing team would have loved the fact that the image became trending news on Twitter. Unfortunately, it might not have expected the flak the tweet just received. Fans have expressed their displeasure with Hollywood for whitewashing another Asian character and can’t help but wonder about the reasons that led to her casting.

According to an old IGN report, manga fans have created an online petition to have her replaced. This petition has received more than 66,012 supporters so far. It is fast approaching its 70,000 target. The petition reveals shocking facts about the American Film industry and its treatment of Asian actors. It revealed that Asian characters made up only 4.4 percent of speaking roles in Hollywood films.

It is believed that the Black Widow’s bankability might have led to her being cast as Major. Digital Trends informs that the makers even shortened her title to “Major.” Fans of the anime believe that Johansson’s role should have been filled by an Asian actress.

According to Screen Rant, Johansson’s casting as the main lead reveals an age-old Hollywood notion that a movie requires a white lead to be a hit. “Ghost in the Shell” cast includes Beat Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk and Chin Han. It also includes Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara and Tuwanda Manyimo.

Here are a few fan reactions.

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