The 2017 "Ghost in the Shell" movie, based on an incredibly popular Japanese franchise of the same name, is already in hot water for casting a white actress, Scarlett Johansson, as the central character.
But if the teasers that were released Wednesday night (September 21) during "Mr. Robot" are any indication, just because Paramount and DreamWorks changed the race of the main character doesn't mean that they aren't capitalizing on the series' Japanese roots — and that makes the whitewashing even worse.
Admittedly this footage captures the cool cyberpunk-Asian design that's integral to a "Ghost In The Shell." But by casting a white woman in its central role, the film has already crippled itself in the eyes of many western "Ghost In The Shell" fans.
Scarlett Johansson is a fantastic performer and will undoubtedly do a great job portraying the Major. But as many Asian-American critics have pointed out, even the best, most respectful movie that's set in Asia with a white lead will still indirectly imply that Asian people are background characters in their own stories, if only because of how common it is.
Over in Japan, the reaction is admittedly little more complicated. Because the country has its own animation and live-action film industries and Japanese people aren't exactly a minority (although the country does have its own issues with ethnic minorities and representation), fans there aren't quite as outraged by the idea that the first ever live-action "Ghost In The Shell" movie features a white Major.
But the fact remains that regardless of whether or not Johansson's casting bothers you on an individual level, Hollywood has a clear problem with casting Asian performers as leads in movies — and like it or not, "Ghost In The Shell" has become the embodiment of this inequality.