Ghost in the Shell Casting Shows We Need More Than White Feminism

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Ghost in the Shell Casting Shows We Need More Than White Feminism

Hollywood has a bad problem with casting women; it has an even worse problem with casting women who aren't white.

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as a fan of Asian cinema...they do have their own industry y'know...plenty of (extremely famous, accomplished and talented) Asian women cast there...

there's more to the world than the Hollywood zeitgeist...and i see no reason why Hollywood should not equally serve its own (primarily home) market demographics.

that said it would be nice if Ghost in the Shell was an international production...but US audiences don't generally go to see foreign language films afaik.

"asians" are 4.75% of the US population according to wikipedia ("whites" are 72.41%) people like to see representations they can equate with themselves.

there's not much potentially culturally affecting value to a film that fails at the box office...

the "draw" of specific headliners is an important factor both in terms of securing production and eventual economically viable success.

atm the fact Hollywood is prepared to make women the headline in blockbuster action movies and the audience is prepared to go along with it is a good thing.

in short Scarlet puts bums on seats...is trailblazing in that respect to a certain extent (given the types and size of film projects she is and is going to be involved in)...i see very little to condemn about that.

Rinko Kikuchi might be good...in a "recently visible" sense...but can she do that kind of work?..and how many people would actually go see a Rinko Kikuchi headlined movie compared a Scarlet one ?

far less is the uncomfortable real world answer to that...

...and at the end of the day this a billion dollar business we're talking about not a school play.

Japan the 8th most populated country in the world (were 98.5% are Japanese) is a minority LOL.

Maybe my memories of GitS is awry, but isn't Motoko Kusanagi a robot, not a person. If that's the case, can't she be any race/ethnicity/etc that her "creator" wants?

I ask because Scarlett, besides being extremely hot, looks a heck of a lot like Motoko. Ergo the casting makes sense to me.

Hollywood does have a problem with whitewashing, for example - the recent Exodus and Noah movies, but I don't see this as a case.

Hear hear. Lynch the white cis witch.

Remember the old times and accept your guilt.

Maybe they just wanted a big name lead rather than act of racism.

Aggieknight:
Maybe my memories of GitS is awry, but isn't Motoko Kusanagi a robot, not a person. If that's the case, can't she be any race/ethnicity/etc that her "creator" wants?

She has the mass produced doll look and has hard time identifying herself.

Sleekit:
as a fan of Asian cinema...they do have their own industry y'know...plenty of (extremely famous and accomplished) Asian women cast there...

there's more to the world than the Hollywood zeitgeist...and i see no reason why Hollywood should not equally serve its own (primarily home) market demographics.

that said it would be nice if Ghost in the Shell was an international production...but US audiences don't generally go to see foreign language films afaik.

The problem is, increasingly Hollywood is serving a world market. Particularly these big blockbusters may make more money overseas than stateside. It does both a disservice to the material and it's audience to halfass the casting. I mean assuming they stay true to the political landscape is this going to still take place in Japan but have an entirely white American section 9?

Fortunately there's a new Ghost in the Shell anime to look forward to.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUEktyhOSxg

The selected Scarlett Johansson because she's hot as hell, fits the figure, puts bums on seats, and let's not get into how so many anime characters look "white" anyway.

This isn't a racist issue in the slightest and it isn't even a feminism issue. Motoko Kusanagi has always been a woman, this role would be filled by a woman in any scenario.

What kind of bullshit clickbait topic is this anyway?

RACISM!

FEMINISM!

COLLECT VIEWS!

PROFIT!

Liam Steel:
Fortunately there's a new Ghost in the Shell anime to look forward to.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUEktyhOSxg

Another? I hope this has nothing to do with Arise.

Abomination:
The selected Scarlett Johansson because she's hot as hell, fits the figure, puts bums on seats, and let's not get into how so many anime characters look "white" anyway.

This isn't a racist issue in the slightest and it isn't even a feminism issue. Motoko Kusanagi has always been a woman, this role would be filled by a woman in any scenario.

What kind of bullshit clickbait topic is this anyway?

RACISM!

FEMINISM!

COLLECT VIEWS!

PROFIT!

I believe this is the writer that also deals with all the GamerGate/Social Justice news. Yes, I remembered that right.

"I understand why DreamWorks would cast a white woman, but I can't wait to live in a world where that reasoning is no longer acceptable. "

Yup.

And yes, Kusanagi could actually be of any race, gender or mechazoid she chooses her shell to be. It won't be complete BS that Johansson should play her. It's just that this was a golden opportunity to front an Asian actress. I understand the financial and investment logic behind that decision but I do not have to like it.

If they wanted to make an action flick with Johansson, that's great, she rocked Lucy, and I am all for more female leads in movies, but I sorta wished they could have picked another IP.

Liam Steel:

Sleekit:
as a fan of Asian cinema...they do have their own industry y'know...plenty of (extremely famous and accomplished) Asian women cast there...

there's more to the world than the Hollywood zeitgeist...and i see no reason why Hollywood should not equally serve its own (primarily home) market demographics.

that said it would be nice if Ghost in the Shell was an international production...but US audiences don't generally go to see foreign language films afaik.

The problem is, increasingly Hollywood is serving a world market. Particularly these big blockbusters may make more money overseas than stateside. It does both a disservice to the material and it's audience to halfass the casting. I mean assuming they stay true to the political landscape is this going to still take place in Japan but have an entirely white American section 9?

Fortunately there's a new Ghost in the Shell anime to look forward to.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUEktyhOSxg

i agree to a certain extent but a truly global film industry is very far away...and would require "western" audiences to be far more accepting and knowledgeable of "stars" from other parts of the world than it is atm.

to my mind perhaps the only person in Hollywood with a truly "futurist" global mindset in that vein (from an east-west bridge kinda pov) atm is weirdly Keanu Reaves...and sadly his last two projects...which he made with exactly that goal...were not a good as good as they could have been.

also ofc he looks "a bit asian" due to his Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry, likes and spends time in that part of the world and is hugely popular there.

Popido:

Liam Steel:
Fortunately there's a new Ghost in the Shell anime to look forward to.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUEktyhOSxg

Another? I hope this has nothing to do with Arise.

Same creators dunno which canon it follows.

Sleekit:

Liam Steel:

Sleekit:
as a fan of Asian cinema...they do have their own industry y'know...plenty of (extremely famous and accomplished) Asian women cast there...

there's more to the world than the Hollywood zeitgeist...and i see no reason why Hollywood should not equally serve its own (primarily home) market demographics.

that said it would be nice if Ghost in the Shell was an international production...but US audiences don't generally go to see foreign language films afaik.

The problem is, increasingly Hollywood is serving a world market. Particularly these big blockbusters may make more money overseas than stateside. It does both a disservice to the material and it's audience to halfass the casting. I mean assuming they stay true to the political landscape is this going to still take place in Japan but have an entirely white American section 9?

Fortunately there's a new Ghost in the Shell anime to look forward to.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUEktyhOSxg

i agree to a certain extent but a truly global film industry is very far away...and would require "western" audiences to be far more accepting and knowledgeable of "stars" from other parts of the world than it is atm.

to my mind perhaps the only person in Hollywood with a truly global mindset (from an east-west bridge kinda pov) atm is weirdly Keanu Reaves and sadly his last two project were...not a good as good as the could have been.

also he looks "a bit asian" due to his Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry...

See my hope would have been to use Batou as a bridge character, esentially bait and switch the US viewer into seeing a movie with some big name star. But then the lead is a Japanese actress.

In either case I get what your saying, I can understand Hollywood wanting to play it safe.

I'm not looking forward to the movie, mostly because I don't think Hollywood can do the anime any true justice. What is worse though is that when they cast ScarJo, I knew these kind of opinion pieces were on the horizon. Not that I necessarily agree or disagree with them but because they always sound so whiny, "oppressed", and read like they belong on a tumblr blog, but with an editorial staff.

Like I said in the other thread on this, I don't have a problem with Johansson playing the Major. This is set after World War 4, they could set it in denmark and it wouldn't make much of a difference.

To put this into a strange reverse perspective, look at the live action adaptation of Attack on Titan coming out. The majority of the cast in the manga are ethnically white and much of the scenery is based on European designs. It's a big deal that Mikasa is one of the few asian people left in the world.

Then the japanese film industry makes their live action version and they cast all asians in the role of technically white people.

You know who I think would be awesome in the role, but Hollywood won't go with her for "reasons"?
Pacific Rim's Rinko Kikuchi.
image
(No! Don't! It makes TOO much sense!)

This was my thought too; the ONLY way that this could be fit in well would be if it became a subplot about Kusanagi for some reason having recently been using a Caucasian looking body model (after all they can look like whatever they want when they're full prosthetic) and the other Japanese characters really have an issue with this or try and get her to fess up about why she's "ashamed of" or "hiding" her ethnicity and how much concepts such as that matter in the setting at the time now that people can replace their bodies at will.

However what I EXPECT to see is a movie that takes place in the United States with the attending primarily white actors without reference to Japan in the vein of All You Need is Kill -> Edge of Tomorrow etc.

Sleekit:
as a fan of Asian cinema...they do have their own industry y'know...plenty of (extremely famous and accomplished) Asian women cast there...

there's more to the world than the Hollywood zeitgeist...and i see no reason why Hollywood should not equally serve its own (primarily home) market demographics.

that said it would be nice if Ghost in the Shell was an international production...but US audiences don't generally go to see foreign language films afaik.

"asians" are 4.75% of the US population according to wikipedia ("whites" are 72.41%) people like to see representations they can equate with themselves.

there's not much potentially culturally affecting value to a film that fails at the box office...

the "draw" of specific headliners is an important factor both in terms of securing production and eventual economically viable success.

atm the fact Hollywood is prepared to make women the headline in blockbuster action movies and the audience is prepared to go along with it is a good thing.

in short Scarlet puts bums on seats...is trailblazing in that respect to a certain extent (given the types and size of film projects she is and is going to be involved in)...i see very little to condemn about that.

Rinko Kikuchi might be good...in a recent "visible sense"...but can she do that kind of work?..and how many people would actually go see a Rinko Kikuchi headlined move compared a Scarlet one ?

far less is the uncomfortable real world answer to that...

...and at the end of the day this a billion dollar business we're talking about not a school play.

This, it's a non issue and definitely not a feminist issue. It's a western American take on a Japanese property so it's not an issue if a white, extremely popular ScarJo is cast as the lead. If there is a big huge outcry from Japan or the nip community then we get to ponder if we're awful for "whitewashing".

All depends if it's an American adaption of another countries property which Ghost in the Shell is or if it's an American movie set in a place that is distinctly ethnic like Exodus, Last Airbender ect ect. I half bet that this American Adaption of Ghost in the Shell will be set in a big USA city.

Almost makes me think if people would be mad if there was an American Ace Attorney movie, have a think.

Liam Steel:
See my hope would have been to use Batou as a bridge character, esentially bait and switch the US viewer into seeing a movie with some big name star. But then the lead is a Japanese actress.

In either case I get what your saying, I can understand Hollywood wanting to play it safe.

well that's just it. "big budget Hollywood"...is not actually about "rolling the dice".

they can't afford to be.

hell, one of the major studios was almost on the verge of collapse last year because it didn't hit the mark and put enough bums on seats with just a couple of "blockbuster" productions (sony i think...not sure).

Abomination:
The selected Scarlett Johansson because she's hot as hell, fits the figure, puts bums on seats, and let's not get into how so many anime characters look "white" anyway.

This isn't a racist issue in the slightest and it isn't even a feminism issue. Motoko Kusanagi has always been a woman, this role would be filled by a woman in any scenario.

What kind of bullshit clickbait topic is this anyway?

RACISM!

FEMINISM!

COLLECT VIEWS!

PROFIT!

Instead of jumping to "clickbait," maybe read the article and see that Hollywood has always placed its star power on male actors and now white female actors. There are Asian actors who are repeatedly denied roles. Yes, Johansson could conceivably do this role well. Does it have to be her? No.

wasted opportunity, sure. potential subpar anime adaptation hollywood butchering, sure.

sad that they picked a good looking, sufficiently good acting, proven can do action movies, crowd drawing, actress to play the lead role?

no, I am not.

stop going far out of your way to be offended, it is becoming really really really

really

really

reallyreallyreallyreally

really tiring.

stop it

Liam Steel:
snip

Fortunately there's a new Ghost in the Shell anime to look forward to.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUEktyhOSxg

Ooooh, nifty. It looks like the character design is different from Arise. That's usually code for a different continuity.

EDIT: http://kokaku-a.jp/movie/message.html

This is from the movie site. I don't read Japanese (if someone here does, that'd be nice), but the SAC movie sticks out.

Sleekit:

Liam Steel:
See my hope would have been to use Batou as a bridge character, esentially bait and switch the US viewer into seeing a movie with some big name star. But then the lead is a Japanese actress.

In either case I get what your saying, I can understand Hollywood wanting to play it safe.

well that's just it. "big budget Hollywood"...is not actually about "rolling the dice".

they can't afford to be.

hell, one of the major studios was almost on the verge of collapse last year because it didn't hit the mark and put enough bums on seats with just a couple of "blockbuster" productions (sony i think...not sure).

Sony's problems are far larger than a bad string of movies. And there's no roll of the dice involved, cast Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, whatever big name star you want as the supporting man and your big budget SciFi can print as much money as you expect.

roseofbattle:
Does it have to be her? No.

can you name a Hollywood Asian actress you think would draw the same number of people (thus justifying the blockbuster budget this film will have) to the theaters by headlining such a film ?

i mean it took me a while even come up with Rinko Kikuchi...and she's never headlined such a movie and most people would be like "who ?".

seriously whatta ya got ? Lucy Liu ?

some things...are..."easy to say"...and not much else.

Liam Steel:

Sony's problems are far larger than a bad string of movies. And there's no roll of the dice involved, cast Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, whatever big name star you want as the supporting man and your big budget SciFi can print as much money as you expect.

maybe...but that does rather detract from having a woman headline a blockbuster sci-fi action movie/and the desired "feminism"/"progressiveness" of the thing does it not ?...

hell, why not just cast Sigourney in the next Expendables if that's all you want...

"don't worry about the woman, the guys will take care of it" is basically what you just said there.

sheeesh.

ps. im not entirely sure it was sony...but one of them was on the brink last year.

Yeah, while I can understand why they went with ScarJo, and have no doubt she could do a good job, it would've been nice for Hollywood to maybe use this as a chance to promote an Asian actress as a lead.

Instead of jumping to "clickbait," maybe read the article and see that Hollywood has always placed its star power on male actors and now white female actors. There are Asian actors who are repeatedly denied roles. Yes, Johansson could conceivably do this role well. Does it have to be her? No.

I believe one large problem with your argument is, you believe Hollywood has control over where star power goes.

Hollywood follows market forces, not the other way around. Hollywood's market, i.e. America, currently wants certain star in their films. Your counter in the article was that Hollywood could 'make' non-white/non-male stars, but Hollywood isn't in the habit of betting 100 million dollar productions to 'make' a star.

Has/does Hollywood had a problem with whitewashing? Absolutely (I do think it is getting incrementally better, though Exodus was defiantly a step backward).

But from a strictly economic standpoint, Scarlett Johansson makes perfect sense. With Ghost in the Shell being, lets be honest, very far from the mainstream and niche, you need a big name actress to sell it.

Would someone like Rinko Kikuchi from Pacific Rim make as much, if not more, artistic sense, probably. But for better or worse this is the movie BUISNESS after all. So the bottom line wins.

Sleekit:
snip

Liam Steel:

Sony's problems are far larger than a bad string of movies. And there's no roll of the dice involved, cast Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, whatever big name star you want as the supporting man and your big budget SciFi can print as much money as you expect.

maybe...but that does rather detract from having a woman headline a blockbuster sci-fi action movie/and the desired "feminism"/"progressiveness" of the thing does it not ?...

hell why not just cast Sigourney in the next Expendables if that's all you want...

"don't worry about the woman, the guys will take care of it" is basically what you just said there.

sheeesh.

Legit question, why not cast Sigourney in an Expendables movie? That sounds bad ass.

crimson5pheonix:

Legit question, why not cast Sigourney in an Expendables movie? That sounds bad ass.

actually i thought that too while writing it :P but given its a Stallone controlled "testosterone fueled" franchise i doubt it would turn out well in the end.

they don't even treat half the guys who show up well (Jet Li for example).

Soviet Heavy:
Like I said in the other thread on this, I don't have a problem with Johansson playing the Major. This is set after World War 4, they could set it in denmark and it wouldn't make much of a difference.

To put this into a strange reverse perspective, look at the live action adaptation of Attack on Titan coming out. The majority of the cast in the manga are ethnically white and much of the scenery is based on European designs. It's a big deal that Mikasa is one of the few asian people left in the world.

Then the japanese film industry makes their live action version and they cast all asians in the role of technically white people.

Comparing the film industry of an almost entirely monoethnic nation to that of one of the most polyethnic ones isn't a very useful perspective IMO. Even were it something they wanted to do, Japanese studios would have a really difficult time finding a large cast of talented European or American actors that speak fluent Japanese. The reverse is not true.

Now, this movie in general doesn't bother me as much on this issue because the themes that the show cover are pretty much completely divorced from Japanese history or culture. By and large, GotS is an anime take on the cyberpunk genre, and since that started in the west anyway(Canada, specifically), I'm not too worried about the show being re-re-adapted using a white cast. A much greater travesty is the dub for the anime Steins;Gate, where they completely erased all traces of Japanese otaku culture from the show, which was half of what the show was actually about.

Sleekit:

crimson5pheonix:

Legit question, why not cast Sigourney in an Expendables movie? That sounds bad ass.

actually i thought that too while writing it :P but given its a Stallone controlled "testosterone fueled" franchise i doubt it would turn out well in the end.

Eh, maybe so. Maybe Stallone is just too scared to ask a girl taller than him to join in the movie :D

Liam Steel:

Fortunately there's a new Ghost in the Shell anime to look forward to.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUEktyhOSxg

That wasn't much to go on but I like what I saw, it kind of looks like more SAC might be on the way.

I see that we're all glossing over the more important issue here. There is less than a .01% chance of this movie being good no matter who is cast in any role. This movie shouldn't be happening period but since it is just remember this: There is still tons of other good to absolutely excellent Ghost in the Shell material out there and this movie as shit as it inevitably will be isn't going to affect the pre-existing material.

EDIT: I take that back, SAC Major has brown eyes.

The only good thing about this movie is how much money it's pouring into the pockets of Masamune Shirow.
This will go about as well as Edge of Tomorrow (which I hear is actually pretty good but failed horribly).

This is a ramble done on my smart phone, apologies for the incoherency:
Okay, I know I'm going to get flack for pointing this out...but the character she's playing is a brain living in a mechanical husk. She could literally be played by any ethnicity or gender for that matter and it would make sense for the rules of this universe.

In the original animated movie, she's very detached and calculating. She doesn't really see her body as a sacred vessel that represents all that she is and believes in. She sees her body as a tool to be used for her job. She doesn't really have a concept of modesty or shame for her form because she doesn't really care what she looks like so long as she can do her job.

I feel like this movie is going to be very Westernized much in the same way that Dragon Ball Evolution was. I get the feeling like this is going to be a bad sci-fi script repurposed and using only names and locations of the source material.

Now is whitewashing a character wrong? I don't think so necessarily, not with this character or this setting where she could literally look like anyone if she wanted to. Would it be more authentic to the source material if she was Asian? Again, maybe, maybe not. This movie is being made by Hollywood for Americans with American sensibilities. Dragon Ball E deviated heavily from the source material because some suit in a board meeting convinced other suits that no one was going to want to watch a proven best-selling story the world over, and instead, they had a better story in mind. One that tested really positive in all of the right demographics they were trying to hit.

Scarlett Johannsson got the role because she's off of the success of the Marvel movies. She's easily identifiable to the American audience this movie is being made for and most likely Dreamworks was nervous that their return on investment would be minimal if they couldn't get a highly recognizable actress to play the starring role.

TL;DR: Casting choice is a product of the Hollywood system. Whitewashing doesn't necessarily apply to the character of Kusuragi as she's a brain in a machine and can look however she wants. This movie will most likely pull a DBE and be completely unfaithful to the source material anyways so who cares if an Asian actress doesn't get her name dragged down with this production? Most would call me pessimistic, I prefer to call myself realistic.

Trishbot:
You know who I think would be awesome in the role, but Hollywood won't go with her for "reasons"?
Pacific Rim's Rinko Kikuchi.
image
(No! Don't! It makes TOO much sense!)

Yeah, just came here to say this exactly. We already have a kickass asian actress.
But nope, Hollywood sure likes to whitewash anything foreign they get their hands on.

Trishbot:
You know who I think would be awesome in the role, but Hollywood won't go with her for "reasons"?
Pacific Rim's Rinko Kikuchi.
image
(No! Don't! It makes TOO much sense!)

Except Scarlett Johansson is fine with nudity and Rinko Kikuchi isn't and the major does not have a nudity taboo.

I'm of two minds on this. On one hand, it's awesome that female-centric movies are getting the green light more and more. That is unquestionably a good thing.

But yeah, I do wish Hollywood felt financially comfortable with casting a non-white person in a non-white role. I understand why Johansson was cast, she's a box office behemoth, but it doesn't make the loss of a role tailor-made for an Asian actress any less annoying.

It's a complicated issue that probably won't matter much in this case, anyway. The odds of this not only getting off the ground but being any good are pretty slim, if other American live-action animes are any indication (except for you, Speed Racer. You'll be my guilty pleasure forever).

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