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Hollywood is no stranger to controversy, it’s also no stranger to stupid ideas (Christian Bale as Moses…come on) and right now, they are under fire with allegations of whitewashing due to the proposed remake of the beloved anime Ghost in the Shell. Now, before I continue I will say that I have never seen Ghost In The Shell, I am woefully behind in my anime watching. That being said, I am still able to be insulted by their choice for the man character, Major Motoko Kusanagi, a strong woman of Japanese descent. The studio wants to cast Scarlett Johansson…oh yeah, because she looks totally Japanese, great idea- Wait…what!?!?
Hollywood has a problem with trying to cast “big name” stars instead of the correct stars. They want to make money, totally understandable, but if they insult a fan base, what do they hope to gain?
Let’s take, for example, a movie I unfortunately watched recently, Exodus: Gods and Kings with Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgarton as Ramses (amongst others). When the trailers were released I, and most everyone else on Earth, were confused – since when did Bale or Edgarton become Egyptian? It was a clear example of whitewashing because Ridley Scott wanted big names in his epic story of Moses. Unfortunately, the movie fell horribly flat. It was ponderous and dull and even though I adore Bale, he was amazingly wrong for the role of Moses. Edgarton was only slightly better as Ramses but still woefully mis-cast.
So why not cast actors that look the part? Money. The simple and annoying answer is money.
Back to Ghost In the Shell, there really is no excuse not to cast a woman of actual Oriental descent, there are a plethora of women actors today that would be fantastic for this role. While they may not be big names, they would rock the role and please the fans, thus ensuring an even bigger box office (in my humble option that is).
An article I read this morning suggests three female actors that they think would be great and I have to agree, I mean, one of them, Rinko Kikuchi is both Japanese and an Oscar-nominated actress (the first Asian-American to be nominated in over 50 years!). She has been in roles like 47 Ronin, Babel and Pacific Rim and I, for one loved her in Pacific Rim, she was a needed jolt of feminism in that mach-man-fest (though I loved it).
Come on Hollywood, take a chance once and awhile and stop putting out crap like whatever the latest Adam Sandler movie (aka flop) was, make the right casting choice for this remake. As much as I like Johansson and I know she would be great, it’s simply not the right actress for the role. Currently there is a petition that is gaining tracking and is just short of the needed 32,000 signatures to force Dreamworks to re-cast the role (you can find the petition in the article linked above), let’s hope it works and the right actress is cast in the role and now I need to go and watch the original Ghost In The Shell!
What do YOU think? Have you seen the original Ghost In The Shell? What do you think of the casting choice? Sound off in the comments!