Scarlett Johansson casting ‘not whitewashing’

Fans of the manga series Ghost in the Shell are outraged over the casting of Scarlett Johansson in the role of the upcoming film adaptation.

Director Steven Paul has rejected claims that he “whitewashed” the Japanese character, whose name has been changed to The Major, by saying he went for an “international” approach.

“I don’t think it was just a Japanese story. Ghost in the Shell was a very international story,” he told Buzzfeed.

“We’re utilising people from all over the world. There’s Japanese in it. There’s Chinese in it. There’s English in it. There’s Americans in it.”

Writer and illustrator Masamune Shirow created the character, which is part of a fictional counter cyberterrorist organisation Section 9, for the series that came to prominence in 1989.

While those involved with the project would feel casting the most profitable female film star ever in the lead would be a safe bet, others felt a Japanese actress should have been cast.

Criticism intensified when reports emerged that CGI was used to alter the appearance of the white actors involved, but Paul insists they have been very “careful” in adapting characters.

The director said the final product would delight fans of the original series.

“They’re going to be very, very happy with it when they see what we’ve actually done with it,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody’s going to be disappointed.”

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