The science fiction/crime thriller "Ghost In The Shell" is due to be released on May 31, and ever since it was announced that Scarlett Johansson would be playing the lead role of The Major, the project has been dogged with controversy.
This is because the film is based on a manga series created by Masamune Shirow, who based it in the fictional (and future) Japanese city of Niihama. The Major's name is Motoko Kusanagi. So a cyberpunk film based on a manga series written by a Japanese person, featuring Japanese characters in a Japanese setting is somehow featuring the extremely white Johansson in the lead role . . .
Given Hollywood's history in this regard — insisting that lead roles must be played by white actors, regardless of the story of context, which has given us such memorable moments as Gerard Butler's implausible Scottish brogue in the Gods Of Egypt film — the reaction from fans of the manga series has been . . . less than kind. A lot of this backlash lives on social media, so it was bizarre for Paramount Pictures to launch a social media viral campaign, where people could insert themselves and some text into an image, which aligns with the general marketing for the film.
Obviously, for the internet, this was an opportunity to protest the film's whitewashing once again:
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