‘Mulan’ Star Upset With Scarlett Johansson Casting in Classic Japanese Anime Film
Actress Ming Na-Wen has joined critics accusing filmmakers of ‘whitewashing’ the remake of Ghost in the Shell by casting Scarlett Johansson over an Asian actress. Paramount bosses have been targeted for casting a white actress in an iconic Japanese role, and now the first image of Johansson in character has been released, the voice of Disney’s Mulan has offered her thoughts on the controversy.
“Nothing against Scarlett Johansson,” she tweeted. “In fact, I’m a big fan. But everything against this Whitewashing of Asian role.” Another critic, using the Twitter handle Peri Menopausal, adds: “Srsly?? So many grt Asian actresses out there: #LucyLiu would slay this, obviously, but also @MingNa, Arden Cho, Maggie Q, Zhang Ziyi (sic).” Ironically, some fans have suggested the casting is perfect, because Johansson bears an uncanny resemblance to Major Motoko Kusanagi, the character created by Masamune Shirow in 1989 as part of a manga comic book. The project was made into a cult Japanese anime movie six years later. In the film, which is set in the near-future, Johansson’s character leads a fictional counter-cyberterrorist organization called Public Security Section 9. The Avengers star was cast last year. Paramount Pictures executives have denied reports suggesting they plan to make Johansson appear more Asian in post-production. A spokesman tells Screen Crush, “A test was done related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded. Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett’s character and we have no future plans to do so.” Some fans of the original are also upset a British director, Rupert Sanders, is making the Hollywood remake of Ghost In The Shell, and not an Asian filmmaker. The film is scheduled to hit cinemas next April.