I’m going to be completely honest right now. The more I hear about the Ghost in the Shell live action movie, the less I want to see it… My biggest issue is the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi, and I know I’m not the only one. Ever since I hear about the casting I’ve been trying to figure out how anyone thought it was a good idea. I mean, it wasn’t entirely surprising so much as infuriating. I can only imagine how Asian fans of the franchise must be feeling.

Now, I don’t mean to shit on Scarjo, she’s proven time and again that she’s got mad acting skills, but she should have turned the roll down. I don’t respect her as much any more for agreeing to help whitewash a proudly Japanese character – in a movie set in Japan no less. How are the writer’s planning on justifying this casting choice? Are they going to alter the Major’s back story? Will they change her name to something more American sounding? Or will they slip in some kind of lame excuse in a throw away line of dialogue and hope no one notices or cares?

The thing is, the fans DO care. Very much so. GITS has had a loyal following since the 80’s and the relaunch of the franchise with Arise has been very successful. Clearly someone in Hollywood recognizes that otherwise they wouldn’t be spending the bank to make this movie. But others must not be so convinced. Casting Scarjo as the lead reads to me like the executive producers are hedging their bets. She’s been in a lot of blockbusters lately, and her fair share of scifi movies, so they know she’ll sell tickets.

Who cares if it alienates the fans? It’s not like we’re the whole reason making this movie was deemed worthwhile in the first place… This is just another example of how Hollywood  likes to undermine their audiences. Casting Scarjo shows us that the execs:

  •  Think audiences are so racist that we wouldn’t possibly consider spending our hard earned money to go see a movie with an Asian lead (and a woman no less!).
  • Don’t consider the fans to be the target audience of the move and therefore aren’t the ones their aiming to please.
  • Think the fans are so obsessed that we’ll go see any half-assed piece of shit made as long as it loosely resembles the thing we love.

The worst part is that more often than not, we prove Hollywood right. We must be, or they wouldn’t keep doing this to franchises we love. You might be expecting me to list ways we can change this, but I’m at a loss. There have been very few movies to come out in the last while that really felt like I was part of the target audience. It’s very frustrating. I don’t go see many movies any more. The only way I’ve learned to compensate is to create the kind of work I want to see, and to support other independent creators who are doing the same.