Ghost In The Shell Movie Producer Says Their Version Is So Faithful

Illustration for article titled Ghost In The Shell Movie Producer Says Their Version Is So Faithful

Next year, a live-action Hollywood Ghost in the Shell movie hits theaters. The moviemakers behind it are very excited, because they’re bringing the source material to life. Or so they say.


As ANN points out, interviews with cast and crew were recently published on The Nerdist and IGN. Neither interview deals with the elephant in the room, which is how the movie has come under fire for its casting decisions. Which makes certain comments in the interviews really standout. Case in point? When executive producer Michael Costigan told IGN this:

I feel like such a geek making this movie because we are really bringing it to life so faithfully.


Continuing, Costigan said, “We are bringing things we saw in the anime to the fore in live action so I’m very excited for the fans.”

“Hopefully the film feels like the anime,” producer Avi Arad added.

The moviemakers are so invested in the live-action movie looking like the anime, at least on the surface, that the movie’s cinematographer Jess Hall lit every set up in the movie with the same 28 colors that appeared in the Ghost in the Shell and Innocence anime films. Intellectually, this is interesting, but why worry so much about the colors in the anime if you’re already taking liberties with the main character?


In the movie, Scarlet Johansson will apparently be referred to as “Major” (ditching the “Motoko Kusanagi,” I guess) to perhaps skip over the fact that the augmented-cybernetic human is Japanese in the original manga and anime. Though, the character’s mother will be played by Japanese actress Kaori Momoi in the movie, so yeah.

“We’re utilizing people from all over the world,” producer Steven Paul told Buzzfeed earlier this summer. “There’s Japanese in it. There’s Chinese in it. There’s English in it. There’s Americans in it.”


Previously, Kotaku reported that the manga’s publisher, however, said it never imagined that a Japanese actress would play the character in the Hollywood version and many Japanese people online didn’t seem too fussed about the entire situation. The filmmakers have hired a whole host of Japanese actors for the film, but in supporting roles.

It’s a delicate issue, and you wonder if it might have been better to rework the setting from the fictional, futuristic Japan to better handle these casting changes, so fans aren’t left scratching their heads. Who knows, maybe it will all make sense in the movie. Maybe not.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.


At best this will entertain non-fans but I seriously doubt people who are actual fans of the source material will be happy with the end result.

Any time I hear a movie maker say some permutation of “this is for the fans” my BS meter starts chirping. I heard that nonsense about the new Star Trek films and most of the shit comic book movies and the Aliens reboots and on and on.

Too much of this already sounds iffy. A white girl playing a Japanese girl who has a Japanese mom in the movie? How does that work? Skipping over giving her a name in a transparent attempt at deflection?

I know Hollywood is too gutless to come out and say “we have no faith a Japanese actress is bankable enough to make this work (even though we have never really tried before) so we will just stunt cast it...fuck what the fanbase that made this property worth turning into a movie thinks.”

I can’t wait until the trailers start dropping and ruining any semblance of suspense or surprise. Modern studio films have jaded me so much I am starting to go into films expecting the worst and hoping for the best.