It was tough to miss the loud accusations of whitewashing leveled at Dreamworks earlier this year when their live-action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost In the Shell was announced, placing Scarlett Johansson in the lead role of Major Kusanagi. The news this week is that Dreamworks is trying to compensate (or overcompensate?) for all the criticism by casting the extras to be as multi-ethnic as possible.
The word comes from a casting call posted October 1st by Rachel Bullock:
“Ghost in the Shell Open Casting Call
I am casting extras for the following film and we are looking for a wide variety of people. We want to have all ethnicities covered in this film. At this stage we would need people to fill out a form and have a couple of photos taken of them. Please note this is a paid job. If anyone would like to get in touch with me please e mail
FEATURE FILM LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO BE EXTRAS
“Ghost in the Shell,” a DreamWorks Studios film shooting in NZ (out of Stone St studios in Wellington) in January 2016. This film is based on the internationally-acclaimed manga and anime series of the same name.
If you or anyone you know are interested in being an extra, are available to work in Wellington, and are aged 18+ please let me know.”
This could really play out one of two ways… 2003’s The Last Samurai comes to mind as a prime example of how things can come across unfavorably when Hollywood contrasts a white leading role too strongly against a supporting cast that is decidedly not-caucasian:
Yep, despite hundreds of years spent developing and mastering kendo, seemingly according to Hollywood: the Japanese still didn’t really know what they were doing until Tom Cruise swooped in and showed them how to use a katana properly.
To give an opposing example: last year’s Tom Cruise film The Edge of Tomorrow was actually based on All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and Yoshitoshi ABe, and despite featuring white leads amongst a somewhat multi-cultural supporting cast, it managed to come across as relatively racism-free (by Hollywood standards, anyway). Plus, (spoiler warning) who’s really willing to complain about watching Tom Cruise die over and over for two hours, all while being forced to cosplay as box art MegaMan?
So that’s the safest solution to all this madness… Our advice for how to make it through all the live-action GITS news and resultant film with your sanity intact is to just keep closing your eyes and imagining that it will be like The Edge of Tomorrow. This sets a bar with a healthy bit of optimism compared to how bad it could really be, yet not so high as to lead to crushing disappointment if/when the movie turns out nowhere near as good. After all, it couldn’t possibly turn out worse than Dragon Ball: Evolution, could it?
(famous last words)
Source: Project Casting
– Takashi Miike to Direct Live-action Blade of the Immortal
– Ghost in the Shell Stage Play’s Motoko Revealed
– Hollywood Death Note Movie to Star Paper Towns’ Nat Wolff
– Anti-ScarJo Petition Hits The Web