The upcoming, live-action film based on Masamune Shirow’s popular Ghost in the Shell manga series has been at the center of controversy for quite a while now and now we have our first look at some footage from the film.
Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks have released a set of five teasers for Ghost in the Shell, including several that feature star Scarlett Johansson as The Major, a human heavily augmented with cybernetic implants who leads an elite special ops unit dubbed Section 9. The film is directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) from a script penned by Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton) and Jamie Moss (Street Kings).
First published in 1989, Shirow’s series followed the elite agency as it attempted to thwart various cyberterrorists in a future version of Japan where the line between humanity and technology has been blurred to the point where sophisticated hackers are able to manipulate far more than people’s home computers. The fictional Public Security Section 9 division was led by Major Motoko Kusanagi, a human woman whose body contains so many cybernetic implants that she finds herself questioning her own humanity.
The live-action Ghost in the Shell has been heavily criticized for its decision to cast Johansson and other non-Asian actors in the lead roles rather than using Asian — or Asian-American — actors, with critics accusing the film of white-washing Shirow’s story.
Along with Johansson, the film stars Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths) as Kuze, Beat Takeshi Kitano (Autoreiji: Biyondo) as Daisuke Aramaki, Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) as Dr. Ouelet, and Pilou Asbæk (Lucy) as Batou.
Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell spawned multiple anime adaptations and spinoff series based on the manga, including a well-received 1995 animated film. An animated series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, premiered in 2002, and there have been several additional series and stand-alone animated films released over time, as well as video games, books, and manga series.
The live-action Ghost in the Shell movie is scheduled to hit theaters March 31, 2017.
You can watch the other four teasers for the film below: