On Thursday, the first visuals of Johansson playing cyborg policewoman Major Kusanagi hit the web to an onslaught of rumblings calling the film out for “white-washing” a Japanese anime character.
High-profile critics like that of actress Ming-Na Wen from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and comic-book writer Jon Tsuei took to social media to deplore the casting and reinforce the need for Asian actresses and actors to be the face of their own stories.
“Ghost in the Shell, while just one film, is a pillar in Asian media,” Tsui wrote.
Ghost In The Shell, while just one film, is a pillar in Asian media. It’s not simply a scifi thriller. Not to me, not to many others.
— Jon Tsuei (@jontsuei) April 15, 2016
This casting is not only the erasure of Asian faces but a removal of the story from its core themes. — Jon Tsuei (@jontsuei) April 15, 2016
“It’s not simply a sci-fi thriller … This casting is not only the erasure of Asian faces but a removal of the story from its core themes.”
Perhaps even more alarmingly, Screen Crush are alleging that Paramount and DreamWorks tested visual affects that endeavoured to make Johansson appear more Asian in the film.