January 5, 2015
Scarlett Johansson Confirmed As The Major In Rupert Sanders' GHOST IN THE SHELL Movie
Variety is confirming that Scarlett Johansson has indeed has taken the lead role of The Major in Rupert Sanders' (Snow White And The Huntsman) Ghost In The Shell adaptation. The film is based on the wildly popular anime film and series, which was adapted from a manga. A new first-person-shooter game is also in development, so the franchise has been hinting all media market points. Steven Spielberg who originally obtained the film rights is still listed as a producer, which is good news.
The story revolves on a futuristic Japanese secret police unit of augmented humans and cyborgs. Who are tasked to fight technology based crimes and terrorism with extreme force. Scarlett's character The Major, is a key team leader in the unit.
The actress isn't a stranger to Japan or Asia, as her first breakout role was in Sophia Coppola's Tokyo-set Lost In Translation opposite Bill Murray. Also recently, shooting in Taiwan for Lucy (speaking Korean in the film) and shot in South Korea for Age of Ultron. The understanding is that the film should and will be still set in Japan. As we haven't heard otherwise, considering Scarlett's history with shooting in Asian countries. The assumption is they will be shooting on location in Japan. I have zero doubts we could even see her speaking Japanese in the film.
However, Hollywood has whitewashed and Americanized manga/anime properties before. Warner Bros. famously tried to limit the Japanese influence in their Akira film, looking at all white actors for the leads. Along with moving the setting to Manhattan and not Neo Tokyo. I'm sure this sort of information will be released once the film is officially greenlit.
Scarlett's rise is in-part thanks to her widely beloved role as Marvel's Black Widow in Iron Man 2, Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron. Over the summer her breakout French-produced action hit Lucy made $458.8M on a budget of $40M. Proving the actress has international awareness, not to menion beating Dwayne Johnson's Hercules (a film budgeted over $100M) it's opening weekend (the two films opened the same weekend). The international take in Russia, China and other Asian markets prove that audiences can handle an American actress in a foreign setting.
It's been reported by Deadline the actress was offered $10M for the role. Which would she her acting quote sky-rocket for future film contacts. It's doubtful the notoriously stingy Marvel Studios would be willing to pay her $10M a film, if she only has a supporting role in the cinematic universe. Robert Downey Jr. has figured-out a way to get paid $50M an appearance, but Scarlett isn't as essential to the MCU as Robert is at the moment.
Kevin Feige has since axed all talk about developing a Black Widow spin-off movie, and has confirmed her place is as a supporting character. I'm still unsure if Widow will come out of Age of Ultron alive, as this sort of talk gives the impression they could kill her off before having to draw-up a new and very expensive contract. This looks to be a smart power move on the part of Scarlett who is quickly becoming equally known for her action hero status as her dramatic and indie projects.