Among the takeaways Paramount Pictures is surely hoping for in releasing the first five minutes of its big-budget Scarlett Johansson thriller Ghost in the Shell are: “look at those graphics!”, “this is so futuristic!”, and ultimately “we have to see this when it comes out!”
It’s a bold publicity move that shows confidence in what they’ve got, though almost certainly designed to draw attention away from the other conversation surrounding the film — an examination of whitewashing in Hollywood and what it means when non-white characters go to bankable white names.
Watch the promised first five minutes of the film below:
— Paramount Pictures (@ParamountUK) March 22, 2017
And here are the numerous other attempts to hype the film and keep you from asking “wait, isn’t ScarJo’s character supposed to be Japanese?” They’re really pushing this one hard:
And to the casting point, here’s what the director of the original 1995 animated Ghost in the Shell had to say:
“What issue could there possibly be with casting her? The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name ‘Motoko Kusanagi’ and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply.”
You can catch Ghost in the Shell in theaters starting March 31.