Updated 07:37 AM EDT, Fri, Oct 23, 2020

'Ghost In the Shell' Slated for Filming Next Year; Release Date in 2017? Scarlett Johansson Spills Details

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News about Scarlett Johansson's casting as Motoko Kusanagi for "Ghost In the Shell" was announced last January. In a recent interview, the actress shared an update about the Japanese manga adaptation.

"It's happening. It will be shooting the beginning of next year, so I think we start production January or February and it's me and Rupert [Sanders]; and that's all I know," Johansson said in the "Avengers: Age of Ultron" press day, Collider reported.

With filming starting next year, Latin Times noted that "Ghost In the Shell" could be released by April 2017, a week after Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim 2."

"Snow White and the Huntsman" helmer Rupert Sanders is set to direct the big screen adaptation on a script written by William Wheeler, Forbes wrote. Avi Arad and Steven Paul will serve as producers, while Mark Sourian will executive produce, Entertainment Weekly noted.

Fans Want Scarlett Johansson Out

Fans of "Ghost In the Shell" are petitioning against Johansson's casting as Motoko in DreamWorks Pictures' live action adaptation.

The Care2 petition has now reached over 47,000 signatures since its launch. According to petition author Julie Rodriguez, the production company should "stop whitewashing characters."

She wrote: "The original film is set in Japan, and the major cast members are Japanese. So why would the American remake star a white actress? The industry is already unfriendly to Asian actors without roles in major films being changed to exclude them. One recent survey found that in 2013, Asian characters made up only 4.4% of speaking roles in top-grossing Hollywood films."

For those unacquainted with the character, Motoko is "a member of a covert counter cyber-terrorist organization, which specializes in fighting technology-related crime in mid-21st century Japan," Entertainment Weekly reported. The Japanese manga was created by Masamune Shirow and started initial production in 1989. It was previously made into an animated film in 1995, with a sequel which aired in 2004.

The sci-fi tale is set in a futuristic society where "technology has allowed humans to replace their body parts with cybernetic gear," SlashFilm wrote. Some citizens are even sporting full-body prosthesis with only their original souls contained in a cyberbrain. Unluckily, the technology also causes brains to be "susceptible to hijacking," the news outlet added.

The petition's author added that this could be DreamWorks' chance to provide diversity in the film industry. She stated, "DreamWorks could be using this film to help provide opportunities for Asian-American actors in a market with few opportunities for them to shine -- please sign the petition asking them to reconsider casting Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell and select actors who are truer to the cast of the original film!"

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