Ghost In The Shell’s Original Director Doesn't Think It Has A Whitewashing Problem

Photo: Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures.
Ever since the news came out almost a year ago that Scarlett Johansson would star in the live-action Ghost In The Shell adaptation, fans have implored both the movie and Hollywood in general to stop giving Asian roles to white actors. When Johansson was approached with these accusations, she was quick to justify the role by saying that it was actually a good thing because it was a franchise starring a female protagonist — so we should just focus on that. Now the original director of the anime movie, Mamoru Oshii, has come forward to say he also doesn't believe the upcoming adaptation is whitewashing.
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"What issue could there possibly be with casting her?" he said in an email to IGN. "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."
This echos Johansson's comments to Marie Claire last month. "I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person," she said. "Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive."
Oshii actually took it one step further, saying that "even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one," her assumed physical form could still be played by anyone.
These comments come after a particularly disappointing week for Asian diversity in Hollywood. New Netflix series Iron Fist has similarly been accused of whitewashing, and in an interview with Inverse, director Roy Thomas made things even worse.
“Don’t these people have something better to do than to worry about the fact that Iron Fist isn’t Oriental, or whatever word?” he said. “I know Oriental isn’t the right word now, either.”
Nope, it's not! And if you're directing a movie with an already offensive premise that a white billionaire learns kung-fu to defeat actual Chinese people, that's the bare minimum of things you should keep in mind.
However, it kind of doesn't matter whether or not the people involved in these movies think there's an issue. If the movies keep offending people, it's time for Hollywood to listen.
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