It won’t be long before Ghost in the Shell hits theaters, but already Scarlett Johansson is finding herself defending her casting in a role that many believe should have featured an Asian.
The original manga is set in a fictional Japanese city centered around Major Motoko Kusanagi – a cyborg since suffering an accident as a child. However, in the upcoming film from director Rupert Sanders, Johansson’s character is known simply as “The Major,” and likely would never have a name like Motoko Kusanagi, since she is the daughter of a Danish immigrant and isn’t Japanese at all.
Yet, Johansson doesn’t want fans to lose sight of the fact that her role in Ghost in the Shell is not just about diversity when it comes to race, but as she told Marie Claire, gender too.
“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important to Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.
“Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that – the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.”
Sanders himself, whose biggest directing job before this was Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012, told another media outlet last year that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses into his film.